Skip Navigation
We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, provide ads, analyze site traffic, and personalize content. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies.
Activity

Classroom Resources for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Lesson Plans, Activity Ideas & Other Resources for Teaching MLK Day
Martin Luther King Jr memorial in Washington DC Christian Lopez
Published: 12/16/2020

Help students put in perspective Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life, his impact on the Civil Rights Movement, and his significance to American culture and history.

Grades K-5

Lesson Plans

Dr. King's Dream
Students in grades K-2 learn about the life and work of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., listen to an excerpt from his “I Have a Dream” speech, and create picture books about freedom for Americans today.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Me: Identifying with a Hero
Students in grades K-2 learn about the life of Dr. King, record information on a KWL chart, and keep a journal of thoughts and ideas.

How Big Are Martin’s Big Words? Thinking Big about the Future
Students in grades 3-5 listen to a reading of Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and then analyze excerpts from King’s speeches for "big" words, words not necessarily as large in length as they are in importance: Freedom, Peace, Love.

Let Freedom Ring: The Life & Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Students in grades 3-5 view photographs of the March on Washington, read Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and investigate how Dr. King used  language from "My Country 'Tis of Thee" in his own speech.

Activities

Martin Luther King Jr. Interactive Timeline
After listening to a reading of A Picture Book of Martin Luther King Jr. by David A. Adler, students in grades 3-6 use sequencing skills to create a timeline of MLK’s life.

Martin Luther King Jr. Quiz
A printable ten question quiz.

King Crossword
This printable crossword for elementary students includes an interactive version and an answer key.

Observing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
PBS LearningMedia provides 13 activities for K-12.

Background Resources

I Have a Dream: Celebrating the Vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.
A source of activities, lessons, and websites.

Martin Luther King Jr.
NY Times archive of articles on MLK.

Commemorate the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This K-8 teacher source provides whiteboard resources, book lists, and activities.

Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site: Lesson Plans and Teacher Guides
This curriculum package for K-8 teachers includes a teacher guide, lesson plans and units, exhibits, a problem-solution project, and references. The package is available in 5 PDF sections totaling 303 pages.

MLK WEBSITES

Printables

Videos

Grades 6-8

Lesson Plans

The Dream Continued
Students in grades 6-8 create found poems based on MLK’s 1968 obituary published in The New York Times.

The Power to Persuade
Students in grades 6-8 use an excerpt from MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” as a model to write a persuasive argument.

Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Power of Nonviolence
Students in grades 6-8 investigate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s philosophy of nonviolence and the teachings of Mohandas K. Gandhi that influenced King's views.

Activities

Martin Luther King Jr. Interactive Timeline
After listening to a reading of A Picture Book of Martin Luther King Jr. by David A. Adler, students in grades 3-6 use sequencing skills to create a timeline of MLK’s life.

Martin Luther King Jr. Quiz
An online 10 question quiz.

An MLK Crossword (Grades 6-8)

Background Resources

I Have a Dream: Celebrating the Vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.
A source of activities, lessons, and websites.

Martin Luther King Jr.
NY Times archive of articles on MLK.

Commemorate the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This K-8 teacher resource provides whiteboard resources, book lists, and activities.

Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site: Lesson Plans and Teacher Guides
This curriculum package for K-8 teachers includes a teacher guide, lesson plans and units, exhibits, a problem-solution project, and references. The package is available in 5 PDF sections totaling 303 pages.

The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow
This companion website features history (1896-1954); stories, including video, audio, photographs, and documents; interactive maps; tools & activities; and lesson plans and activities for middle school and high school.

MLK WEBSITES

Videos

Grades 9-12

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan: The Children's Crusade & the Role of Youth in the African American Freedom Struggle
Students in grades 9-12 learn about the role of youth in the Children’s Crusade in Birmingham, Alabama and Civil Rights Movement.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech as a work of literature
Students (9-12) analyze the rhetorical influences on and the oratorical devices used by King.

I Have a Dream: Exploring Nonviolence in Young Adult Texts
Students in grades 9-12 compare Martin Luther King’s dream of nonviolence, rapper Common’s “A Dream,” and Walter Dean Myers’ “Monkeyman.”

Background Resources

I Have a Dream: Celebrating the Vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.
A source of activities, lessons, and websites.

Martin Luther King Jr.
NY Times archive of articles on MLK.

The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow
This companion website features history (1896-1954); stories, including video, audio, photographs, and documents; interactive maps; tools & activities; and lesson plans and activities for middle school and high school.

MLK WEBSITES

Videos

Become an Aspiring Educator

Click the state where you are attending school to become an Aspiring Educator.
Share Your Inspiration

Great teaching, more learning

We are dedicated to to helping educators achieve and sustain new norms of excellence at every phase of their career. The professional growth of our members is our priority.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.