The Governors of Mississippi Lesson Plan

Martha Hutson


The Mississippi History Now profiles on Mississippi’s governors offer brief summaries of the personal and political lives of each of the state’s chief executives. Although students usually are aware of the current governor and perhaps can name others who have served in the position, rarely is there enough time in the classroom to permit them a more personal glimpse into the lives of those who have served in the state’s highest elected position. Students can use these gubernatorial biographies in a variety of ways. They can be accessed to find information on a specific governor or on governors during a particular time period, such as the governors during the period of Reconstruction. Another way to use the information is to provide opportunities for students to categorize, compare and contrast governors throughout the history of the state. However used, this succinct compilation provides a convenient and much needed resource for students of Mississippi’s history.


Mississippi Studies Framework: Competencies 1, 6, and 7.


Grades 4 (with modifications) through 12.


  • Mississippi History Now profiles of governors
  • Paper, markers, etc. for graphic


Students will:

  • examine biographical data and political beliefs of Mississippi’s governors
  • determine the major accomplishments of each governor while in office
  • categorize the governors of the state (categories will be determined by teacher and/or students)


Ask students to list as many U. S. presidents as they can. Then, have them list the names of as many governors of Mississippi as they can. A comparison of the length of the two lists will be interesting. Ask the students to compare/contrast what they know about the duties and powers of the president with those of the state governor. Have them share any other information they already know about the state’s chief executive.


  1. For objectives one and two, students will construct a chart with these headings: BIOGRAPHICAL DATA, POLITICAL BELIEFS, and ACCOMPLISHMENTS. The teacher may wish to have students work individually or in groups of three with each person assigned to one of the chart topics.
  2. Rather than examining all the governors, students can collect information on certain categories, such as those who served during a particular period of time: antebellum governors, governors who served between the world wars, governors of the Great Depression, 19th century governors, governors of the 1960s. Additional categories can be assigned by the teacher, or the students can devise a game using other common characteristics: governors born outside the state, governors with places named for them, governors who served non-consecutive terms, etc.


Once all the data is collected, students can design a graphic, a bulletin board, or hallway exhibit of their findings. They may wish to record a presentation to be housed in the school’s library for reference.


Depending on how the subject matter is handled, the teacher can use a variety of assessment techniques:

  1. Students can rank the governors of a certain period or category to evaluate their effectiveness
  2. Groups of students can conduct a campaign to get their “governor” re-elected
  3. From studying a number of the governors, students can make lists of similarities and differences.


  1. A visit by a retired governor would help to put a human face on the subject matter.
  2. Students may wish to compile a list of unique characteristics: governor who served the shortest term, first governor to be re-elected to consecutive terms in the 20th century, etc.
  3. Schedule a tour of the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion in Jackson.