Grade: Middle
Subject: History

#1678. Martin Luther King, Jr.

History, level: Middle
Posted Tue Nov 7 09:00:28 PST 2000 by Edward S. Bush (
Indiana University of PA, Indiana, USA
Materials Required: Poem by Erika Northrop, entitled "In Memory."
Activity Time: 45 minutes
Concepts Taught: Understanding the goals of Dr. King

Script: To know what goals Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had when he wanted to change the inequality of the United States.

Aim: TLW combine the information given about MLK to state what his goals were. TLW develop an understanding for cultural awareness. TLW value MLK's fight for equality. TLW appreciate the effort MLK put into changing this country. TLW know what every person that lives in this country has the right to.

Student's Prerequisites: TLW have some prior background on the life of MLK (from hearing about his "I Have a Dream" speech to him being assassinated.) TLW know how MLK is a strong African American role model.

Teacher's Prerequisites: The teacher will have to know the story of Rosa Parks. The teacher will also have to have knowledge on the hardships the African American people faced. The teacher will have to know what goals King wanted for the United States.

We are going to learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his fight for equality. We are going to look at what he wanted for the United States' future. We will also look at some of the hardships the African American people had to face. The class will read a poem, by Erika Northrop, entitled "In Memory." We will find in this poem what King's goals were for the United States. The goals he had were for everyone to enjoy freedom, liberty, justice, and brotherhood. The class will look at these words to better understand their meanings. To get the classes attention, the teacher will story tell the story about Rosa Parks, and her courageous incident on the bus. The teacher will tell the students how Rosa Parks was kicked off the bus, because she would not move to the back. The teacher will also help the children visualize what African Americans had to go through during this time in our country. For example, how African Americans were not allowed to share the bathrooms, or water fountains with the White people.

First, the teacher will read the poem (with some strong feeling) to let the children hear it. Then the teacher will go over the vocabulary. He/she will do this by making webs on the board. The vocabulary that will be gone over will be (brotherhood, liberty, justice, and dignity). The teacher will ask the children to give him/her other words that will help complete the webs.
Then the teacher will have the students echo him/her while he/she reads the poem again. This will help the children get the rhythm and feeling of the poem.
Then TLW get into pairs. These two children will read a portion of the poem. One will read from line 1 to line 8. The other child will read from line 9 to line 20.

The teacher will have the children go back to their seats. The teacher will ask the students.
-What growth did King want for the United States people?
-What do you think the author of the poem meant by "the country had some growing to do?
-Why did King have to be a strong man that stood tall?
-Why should we learn about King, what makes him more important than anyone else?

For homework the children will have to pretend that King is still alive, and that they are going to write him a birthday card, telling him what a great man he is, and how he was an important role in changing this country.