Martin Luther King Day: 7 educational activities for students

Explore the legacy and celebrate Martin Luther King Day through these book recommendations and educational activities on black history month.

Martin Luther King played a vital role in history, and his life can teach so many lessons to our youth. For example, how to speak up for what you believe to be right or dream of a better world and bring it into reality.

Here is a round-up of some excellent Martin Luther King Jr. educational activities for pupils to help them learn. Use the following Martin Luther King educational resources and activities to help students learn about the civil rights movement.

Read a book for Martin Luther King Day 

One creative yet evocative way to get better acquainted with the life of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement in your classroom is with books and read-aloud activities.

The message of Martin Luther King Day wasn’t entirely about race. He also discussed poverty, gender stereotypes, and privilege. 

Also, make sure your activity includes the books on black American leaders and black history month

Here are some Martin Luther King Day read-aloud books to try.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mathew Ahmann in a crowd of demonstrators at the March on Washington
Source: Unsplash

“Our Words Matter” activity for MLK Day 

It is imperative to make the learners see the way they can apply Dr. King’s words when communicating digitally.

Cyber-bullying and online hate can be considerable interruptions to learning and cause more and more division. Include lesson plans for Martin Luther King that motivates learners to show kindness via social media and online communication channels.

Moreover, it shows people how to implement his teachings in the real world and life. In addition, it gets them writing too, which is good to weave into the activities.

Writing activity for Martin Luther King Day

Another innovative Martin Luther King Day educational activity is writing creativity.

Usually, you can begin this writing and reading activity with the book Martin’s Big Words written by Doreen Rappaport. This book has beautiful collages highlighting why Martin’s statements were “big.”

After reading it, the learners can create their word collage on attractive card stock. In addition, they can then use cut-outs of typed words in different words or fonts from magazines portraying their selected expression. This Martin Luther King Day resource is perfect for younger students who might not be able to transcribe whole paragraphs just yet.

Also, you can even incorporate this creative Martin Luther King Day educational activity without much preparation time and use it for distance learning.

man and woman standing beside gray wall
Source: Unsplash

Inspire art with Martin’s words

King was a persuasive and compelling speaker, whose words remain relevant and inspiring even today. Have students create art—a comic strip, a picture, etc.—motivated by a King quote of the learner’s choosing. 

After students finish it, ask them to recognize the quote they chose and elaborate on how their art reveals it. 

Volunteer together

A simple but practical way to understand MLK day is to serve the local community. Inspire students to help tidy up the school, clean up a park, or visit a local senior citizen’s home. Also, make this event happen more than once a year. You can implement a range of volunteering ideas to keep the spirit alive.

Martin Luther King mystery pictures activity

Finally, one of the other great creative and educational MLK Day activities is to have people complete a reading activity based on Mystery Pictures on Martin Luther King’s life.

If you want to make distance/virtual learning more engaging, then Mystery Pictures is one of the best activities to captivate your remote learners. Plan a Google Slides activity that demonstrates real-life images from Martin Luther King’s life that have been scrambled up and taken apart.

man in black jacket and pants sitting on bench
Source: Unsplash

Wrapping up

Hopefully, you’ll find these teaching resources valuable and use them for educational activities to celebrate Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement creatively and engagingly.

Also, to make appealing invitations, you can leverage black history month flyer templates to create a ready-made invitation for black history month events.