The Mayflower Compact

The Mayflower Compact

I can describe the end of the journey on the Mayflower, and explain the purpose

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The Mayflower Compact

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This lesson will open with a review of what your students have learned about the PIlgrims so far. Your students will discuss details of the end of the long voyage and when America was first sighted by the voyagers. They will learn about the declining health of many passengers, including “scurvy” and its causes. The lesson continues as the class learns about the Mayflower Compact and why it was created. Finally, a map activity will help students remember the path The Mayflower took as it journeyed across The Atlantic Ocean.

Learning Objective

Students will be able to explain Pilgrims’ journey, the purpose of the Mayflower Compact, and the principle of self-government.


Begin with a review of what has been learned about the PIlgrims so far. Have your students put the events in correct chronological order by moving the numbers to each event. Discuss the declining health of many passengers and introduce the disease “scurvy,” along with its causes and symptoms. Have the class describe some foods that would help prevent the disease of scurvy and participate in a memory activity about the symptoms of scurvy.


Explain the details of when America was first sighted, along with the final leg of the journey on the ship to its final destination, with its many twists and turns! Introduce and discuss The Mayflower Compact. The class will then participate in a group discussion: “What are some things that you would have added to the compact?”, “Are there any things you would have changed or altered?” and “Why was this compact needed?” Next, explain that Susannah White gave birth to a son aboard the Mayflower. He was named Peregrine, from the Latin word that means "pilgrim." He was the first English child born in the new colony! Conclude the lesson with a map showing the entire path of The Mayflower, from England to America.


Students respond to ten multiple-choice and true/false questions.


Close the lesson with an activity in which the students move labels to the correct places on the map of the path of The Mayflower.

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