Civil Rights Movement Lesson Plan: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Submitted by: Allisyn Levy

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, K-3

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades K-12, students use BrainPOP and/or BrainPOP Jr. resources to gain a deeper understanding of the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights movement. Students create a profile of someone who inspires them and share the profile in creative ways with their peers and the community.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Recognize the contributions Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made to our country
  2. Gain a deeper understanding of the Civil Rights movement
  3. Create a profile of someone who inspires them

Materials:

  • paper and pens
  • computer with projector or interactive whiteboard to show BrainPOP
  • additional art supplies, if needed

Vocabulary:

Martin Luther King, Jr.; civil rights; segregation; Freedom Riders; sit-in; boycott; Nobel Peace Prize

Preparation:

Preview movie (BrainPOP or BrainPOP Jr.) and plan where to pause for discussion and note-taking with students. You might write your own Inspiration piece to share with your students.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Discuss why Monday is a holiday. What did Martin Luther King Jr. do to earn a national holiday, and have millions of people celebrate his birthday? Students can jot down notes or turn and talk to discuss.
  2. Take the Quiz (on BrainPOP or BrainPOP Jr., depending on your age group). Challenge kids to see how much they know already, and let them know they can take the Quiz again after viewing the movie.
  3. Have your students choose someone who inspires them. It may be a family member, community leader, friend, hero, role model, or even a character in a book. Have all students turn and share their person, and share a few with the whole group so everyone is prepared to write about the person they selected.
  4. Have each child create a profile of a hero or role model and explain why he or she is inspirational. Some students may even want to interview their subjects. Then have students share their profiles with the class. Encourage students to be creative: they can dress up, give a speech, write a poem, offer inspirational quotes, create posters, or even build a webpage that honors their inspirational person.
  5. Find ways to give your students an authentic audience to share their work with. Invite other classes, record and put up on a class website, create a museum, etc.

Extension Activity:

This idea comes from BrainPOP Jr.'s lesson ideas. There are other excellent ideas in there that can be adapted for any age group! You might also watch the Rosa Parks movie to help support and extend this topic.