Cross-Curricular Lessons on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

by Kids Discover

On this coming Monday, our nation honors the life of Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Born on January 15th, 1929, he created positive change for the United States through peaceful and nonviolent protests. We at Kids Discover believe that his life is an incredibly important topic and is one that should be revisited with students often. 

Because of that, we are making the entire MLK, JR. Unit free for our community. Simply log in and your class will have full access to all 7 Topics about his life, legacy, and the Civil Rights Movement. We’ve also created these low-prep cross-curricular activities that will help your students dive deeper. 

Lesson Warm-Up

Your students may have learned about Dr. King for several years in a row. Maybe they feel like they already know everything about his life? Let’s test that!. Engage your students’ prior knowledge and get them excited to learn with this Get Set to Read Worksheet. They will make predictions on what they think they know about Dr. King. As they read, they will prove their answer and find out if their guess was correct.


In the Topic Who Was Martin Luther King Jr.?, you’ll find a map of the Deep South. Have students learn more about this region of the United States and its importance during the Civil Rights Movement. Students can research each state individually, in partners, or as a class. Our Unit on The Southeast will also be a great resource for your learners. Have students keep track of their findings on The South and Civil Rights Graphic Organizer


There are so many dates and moments that makeup Dr. King’s incredible life. They are all a piece of his legacy. As students read all about him, have them fill out the Timeline Graphic Organizer. Remind students that more than one event can happen in the same year. How many can they find while reading Kids Discover or with their own research? 

Language Arts

Find a video of Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream” Speech and share it with your students. Have them notice the power of his words and the incredible crowds that came to hear him speak. Discuss with your class, what did these words mean? What do they notice about the people who attended? Have them think about this for a moment and invite them to write about their own dream to continue Dr. King’s work. Once they brainstorm and draft, they can write a final copy on this I Have a Dream Template. Afterward, give all students an opportunity to share with their audience. 

Although Dr. King is the most celebrated, he was by no means the only voice in the Civil Rights Movement. Our Civil Rights Unit shares the full history of the movement, including its beginnings, where it is today, and the heroes that made it possible. In Civil Rights for All, from our new Protests in America Unit, students will learn that, even today, Dr. King’s dream isn’t quite realized and that they are the generation that may finally get it there. 


Kids Discover For over 25 years, we’ve been creating beautifully crafted nonfiction products for kids. With a specialty in science and social studies, our team of talented writers, award-winning designers and illustrators, and subject-experts from leading institutions is committed to a single mission: to get children excited about reading and learning.