Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

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This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Martin Luther King, Jr., and identifying the contributions of historical figures. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of creative projects.


Ask students: What do you know about Martin Luther King, Jr.? What words do you associate with MLK, Jr.?


  • Read aloud the description on the Martin Luther King, Jr. topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Have students read one of the three Related Reading articles. Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY
Students synthesize their ideas and express them through one or more of the following creative projects. They can work individually or collaborate.  

  • Make-a-Movie: Create a mini documentary about Martin Luther King, Jr. Describe his actions and their impact on peoples’ lives. 
  • Make-a-Map: Identify major events in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life as a civil rights leader, and how each demonstrated his commitment to nonviolence.
  • Creative Coding: Code a newscast announcing how Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s nonviolent protests led to Supreme Court decisions banning segregation


Reflect: After sharing creative projects with each other, students reflect on what they’ve learned about Martin Luther King, Jr.  Prompt them by asking questions such as: 

  • What makes Martin Luther King, Jr. an effective leader?
  • What parts of  Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “dream” have been realized? What progress still needs to be made?

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Challenge

Step 5:  Extend Learning

Dig deeper into Martin Luther King, Jr.’s impact by analyzing newspaper articles in this Primary Source Activity


Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments