Arrival (The)

K, 1, 2

Students explore the definition of community as a group coming together for the common good. Students work cooperatively to form rules and compare their rules to the compact made by the Pilgrims before they left the boat.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Forty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • define a community as a group of people who come together for a common purpose.
  • recognize the Pilgrims as a group of people who formed a community in order to exercise their freedom of religion.
  • write a set of rules for their group.
  • compare their rules to the “Mayflower Compact.”
  • A copy of the book If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620
  • A copy of Attachment One: Copy of Mayflower Compact
  • World Map
  • United States Map
  • Journals and pencils
  • Construction paper and markers
Home Connection 

None for this lesson.

  • McGovern, Anne. If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620. Scholastic, 1993. ISBN: 0590451618


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Write “community” on the chalkboard. Ask the students to name some communities to which they belong. List their ideas. Define the word community as a group of people who come together for a common purpose. Ask the students to brainstorm more communities of which they are part. Their list should be much longer with this broad definition. Save the list for later in the lesson.

  2. Read the page about seeing land for the first time (page 32) in If you Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620. Have the students get into their “boats.” Tell the children that their journey from England is about to end. In November 1620, the Pilgrims reached land in Massachusetts. (Locate on US map.) Allow them to role play the excitement of seeing land after their long journey.

  3. Guide the students to recognize that the Pilgrims on the Mayflower were a community who came together because they wanted religious freedom. In order for a community to have peace and to make progress together, they must respect each other, work for the common good and have some rules (or agreements about appropriate behavior).

  4. Explain that just as we have rules in our classroom community, the Pilgrims needed rules in their community. They were establishing a new home where there wasn’t a king or president and it was important to them that their new settlement would be successful so the Pilgrims decided that they would need rules or laws in their community. They decided to write down those laws before they left the ship and settled in their new land. They called their set of laws the “Mayflower Compact.” (A compact is another word for an agreement.)


  5. Give each group the assignment to work as a community to write rules for the common good. You may wish to limit the number of rules to suit the age of your students. Tell the students that anyone in the group may suggest a rule, but that each rule must be voted on. More than half of the group must agree on a rule in order for it to be accepted.

  6. The students should work on rough draft paper, then write their final rules in marker on construction paper. Younger students may draw picture representations of the rules. Allow the students about 15-20 minutes to work on their rules. The teacher should circulate among groups, troubleshooting where needed.

  7. Have the group reporters read aloud their group’s rules. (For younger children, the recorder might tell about the picture rules.)

  8. Read to the children the “Mayflower Compact.” See Attachment One: The Mayflower Compact. Read about it in If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620. Explain that in the compact, the Pilgrims agreed to make laws for the good of the colony (or community) and to obey those laws.

    Compare the Mayflower Compact to the rules the students made.


Class Participation ( use observation grid from Lesson One: Get on the Boat) Have the student write or draw in their journals about the experience of making rules for their community. Tell them to consider the following when writing: Do they think the rules are fair? Was it hard to agree on certain rules? Which one rule do they think is the most important and why? (This could also be done as a whole group writing activity.)

Cross Curriculum 

None for this lesson.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define community as the degree that people come together for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Identify why rules are important and how not all behaviors are addressed by rules.
      3. Benchmark E.6 Identify and describe fundamental democratic principles.