Martin Luther King, Jr. Activity for Kids

Social Studies, winter

Martin Luther King, Jr. Activity

This is one of my favorite projects that I look forward to every year. This Martin Luther King, Jr. Activity incorporates two important Social Studies standards: learning about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and timelines.

This is a culminating project that I use after my class has spent several days learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. We have already read books, watched videos, learned about him on PebbleGo, and completed other activities about his life and contribution to our country.

The students love this Martin Luther King, Jr. activity for two reasons. First, I let them work with a partner, which they LOVE. Also, I let them use their colored pencils, which is a special treat in my classroom.

You will want to have two days to complete this project.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Activity Day 1

I partner the students up and give each set of partners one of the MLK timeline pages. I set out multiple books, pictures, etc. of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I also use a a quick internet search to display some photographs on my interactive whiteboard. I find having a partner and providing references for their illustrations really helps with the quality of their work.  I also give the students plenty of time to work on their illustration.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Activity Day 2

On Day 2, we gather together in the hallway with our completed illustrations.  We use them to create a timeline of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life. This would also work great on a large bulletin board in your classroom.
To be prepared and make the lesson flow smoothly, I have done the following tasks before we gather together.
  1. I have hung a piece of yarn about 10 feet long in the hallway.
  2. I have preprinted the years of key details of Martin Luther King, Jr’s life on index cards.
  3. I have a big roll of tape ready to go!  You may even want to have some tape loops hanging on the wall for quick taping of the projects.
Large timeline of Martin Luther King, Jr's life made of student drawings.
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Now we are ready to begin! We work together to order the events of Martin Luther King, Jr’s life. It is a bit tricky for students to order the years, but this is good exposure for them. I use lots of guided talk to walk them through the process. They bring up their Martin Luther King, Jr. activity pages and we tape them in order, making a large timeline of his life.

I love that this project makes the concept of a timeline come to life for my students in a way that a worksheet cannot. I hope your students will love this Martin Luther King, Jr. activity as much as my class does! You can download the pages for the timeline by clicking here!

Want more social studies project ideas? Check out the links below!


Hi, I’m Jaymie! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I taught for 17 years including 12 years in First Grade, 4 years as a Reading Interventionist, and 1 year in Pre-K. 

I have a passion for creating rigorous, easy to use primary resources that require little or no prep! I hope you find some easy ideas to take back to your classroom or use in your homeschool!

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