Martin Luther King, Jr. 


Competency: Provide a concrete example of how knowledge can influence a leader and the course of history


Linked Core Abilities:

  • Take responsibility for your actions and choices

  • Do your share as a good citizen in your school, community, country and the world.




1. PARTICIPATE in learning warm-up activities. Watch the below video and ask the student if what Martin Luther King, Jr. would say today about the Iraq War if he were still alive?


(22 minutes)


To start the audio message, please double-click the play button in the left hand corner.

2. REVIEW Lesson Objectives

a. Describe how  Martin Luther King, Jr. made our world a better one.

b. Evaluate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s message of nonviolence.

c. Explain how Martin Luther King, Jr.ís work is continuing to influence thinking today.


3. REVIEW Key Words.

Define key word: boycott, fellowship, reconciliation, and segregation.


4. COMPLETE exercises to assess understanding of Key Words.

Ask the class leader to write the key words for the day on the board. The class leader then calls upon students for the correct definitions. The class leader can also test for understanding by asking students to use key words in a sentence.


5. PARTICIPATE in a lecture/discussion of the lesson.

When a student is prepared to teach the class, have a student lead the class. In situations where only the instructor is qualified to lead the class, engage the students in a discussion of the material. Techniques such as having the students read a paragraph with opportunities to discuss what was read are recommended.


6. COMPLETE practice exercises to assess understanding lesson concepts.

GROUP ACTIVITY -- Help students learn about the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a jigsaw activity.


  • The student class leader (previously selected by the instructor) divides the class into 5 person jigsaw groups.

  • The group leader selects one student in each group as the group leader.

  • Segment the lesson into 5 parts. Students learn about Martin Luther King, Jr. by dividing the lesson into stand-alone segments on: (1) His childhood, (2) His family life, (3) His worldwide speaking for justice, (4) His failures, and (5) His successes.

  • The group leader assigns students in the group to one of the 5 segments. The group leader also is responsible for a segment.

  • Students are given time to read their segment and outline key points.

  • Students leave their jigsaw group for 20 minutes to meet with other students sharing their same segment assignment. Students discuss the main points of their segment and prepare to report back to their jigsaw group.

  • Students return to their jigsaw groups.

  • Jigsaw group leaders facilitate having students present her or his segment to the group. The group leader also encourages group members to ask questions.

  • The class instructor observing each group, assists when group leaders need assistance.

7. PARTICIPATE in a summary of the lesson (Lesson Review)

1. Why did Martin Luther King, Jr. promote nonviolence?

2. Why did the FBI listen to his personal phone calls and conversations?

3. What sort of discrimination did he fight against?

4. Explain the importance of the civil rights movement.


Lesson content is online at

Frequently asked questions are at

For more information, please contact us at or call 530-554-7061.



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