“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.“- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr., an icon of the Civil Rights movement, is celebrated for his achievements and honored by our nation on the third Monday of every January. To help you incorporate primary sources and lesson plans in your classroom, Thinkfinity offers this special collection dedicated to the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Explore the educational resources below and share with your students the impact of Dr. King during his lifetime and how his work still resonates in our society today.
“…Let freedom ring from every hill and mole hill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring, and when this happens...when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" -- Martin Luther King, Jr.Image: National Museum of American History-Behring Center, Smithsonian Institution
- Celebrate the vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. with lessons and activities for your classroom. (Grades: K-12)
- Show students how the Kennedy Administration impacted the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. (Grades 9-12)
- Encourage students to explore the “I Have Dream” speech and brainstorm ways they can help achieve educational goals. (Grades 7-12)
- View the actual flier announcing the 1963 March on Washington.
- Additional Resources
EDSITEment | Lesson Plan | K-12
Explore lessons about Dr. King, the Civil Rights Movement and the administrations of presidents Kennedy and Johnson.
EDSITEment | Lesson Plan | 9-12
This lesson will help students learn more about these members of the grassroots civil rights struggle through the use of primary documents, audio sources, and photographs.
ReadWriteThink | Lesson Plan | K-2
This lesson provides ideas for celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by encouraging students to explore the connections between Dr. King and themselves through journaling and inquiry-based research.
ReadWriteThink | Lesson Plan | K-2
Inspired by the book Martin’s Big Words, students explore information on Dr. King to think about his "big" words. Then they write about their own "big" words and dreams.
Science NetLinks | Resource Collection| K-12
Explore a collection of teaching resources related to Martin Luther King, Jr.
ReadWriteThink | Interactive | 3-12
This interactive invites students to create a found poem by grabbing tiles of words from Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
ReadWriteThink | Activity | 7-12
Students explore the "I Have a Dream" Foundation's website and brainstorm ways they can help themselves or others at their school achieve their educational dreams.
History Explorer | Activity | K-5
Children will learn about Dr. King’s life and legacy through a reading guide on the children’s book Martin’s Big Words and a variety of activities that examine Dr. King’s speeches and the protest methods of the civil rights movement.
History Explorer | Activity | 3-5
In this activity, children pretend to be an American during 1963 and decide whether or not to join the March on Washington. Children base their choice on information gathered through guided observation of a handbill from the march. Part of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and OurStory: Nonviolence resource set.
History Explorer | Activity | K-4
Examine one or more of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s letters or speeches and turn powerful words and phrases into word art using the online Wordle tool. Part of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and OurStory: Nonviolence resource set.
History Explorer | Artifact | 3-12
Flier announcing the 1963 March on Washington.
"I Have a Dream" is arguably King's most famous speech. It can be read, viewed, or heard - but how would you convey King's vision without using words or simply through your actions? Consider these creative ideas for understanding and communicating King's vision.
NEW lessons to celebrate the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:
- The Smithsonian's History Explorer has launched five new educational activities related to the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for the Museum's OurStory Web site! Each of the activities relates to the children's book, Martin's Big Words, by Doreen Rappaport (2001, Hyperion Books for Children). Martin's Big Words is an award-winning biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that focuses on his work in the Civil Rights Movement. The activities encourage readers to go beyond the words of the book by reading actively, creating word art from King's speeches, and other thought-provoking projects.
- EDSITEment had two new lessons to help your students explore the role of the NAACP in American history, politics and culture. Learn more with Birth of a Nation, the NAACP, and the Balancing of Rights and NAACP's Anti-Lynching Campaigns: The Quest for Social Justice in the Interwar Years.
Also be sure to utilize these favorite Thinkfinity resources for Martin Luther King Day:
- Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday (Classroom Activity)
Listen to and discuss King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and then consider non-verbal ways of conveying his message.
- The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Interactive Chronology)
Hear and read King's most famous speeches, and view photographs from his life in this interactive timeline.
- Little Bill the Producer (Lesson Plan)
In this story, children's television characters Little Bill and Alice the Great produce a book about Dr. King.
- Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Power of Nonviolence (Lesson)
Understand the influence Gandhi's teachings had on King's views of non-violence.
- Ordinary People, Ordinary Places: The Civil Rights Movement (Lesson)
Individual men and women embraced King's message of nonviolent protest and advanced the Civil Rights Movement on a local level.