Martin Luther King Jr. and the March on Washington Post-Reading Extension and Project Ideas

Martin Luther King Jr. and the March on Washington by Frances E. Ruffin is a fabulous high-interest book for grades 2-4, and a Common Core Informational Text Exemplar for grades 2-3.  The following is a list of suggestions for projects that can be used before, during, or after reading to engage your students and deepen students' understanding of the themes and ideas presented in the book. 

For more resources for Martin Luther King Jr. and the March on Washington, check out our Glossary, Vocabulary, & Context Clues Activity, our Reading Questions, Author's Purpose Activity, & Final Quiz, our FREE Storytelling: Narrative Speaking Activity and our Informational Article and Questions on Jim Crow laws.

The following are suggested activities to extend the themes and concepts before, during, or after reading Martin Luther King Jr. and the March on Washington.

  1. Have students interview grandparents or older relatives about life when they were children.  Students can record the interviews or write the stories down.  Be sure to have students prepare interview questions in advance.
  2. Have students find a photo of a relative as a child.  Share photos in class and have students observe the photos.  Have students write about how life might have been the same as or different from the relative and his/her own life.
  3. Have students journal/discuss “What is a hero?”  What adjectives describe a hero?  Who is a hero in our society today?  Why?
  4. Have students journal/discuss what peace means to them.  What does/would peace look like?  How can they contribute to peace in their own world?
  5. Have students research five historic events or people of the Civil Rights Era. Have them make a timeline of the events, or choose two events or people to feature in a poster about this era.
  6. Give students the definition of the word equal, and then the word equality.  Have students work with a partner to give clear examples of what equality looks like in either a paragraph or an illustration.
  7. Have students listen to old slave folktales and songs.  Talk about why the slaves sang, and what these songs were about.  Have students create a bulletin board of the lyrics, tales, and illustrations depicting a song or tale.
  8. Have students read a similar book about Martin Luther King Jr., such as Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport, National Geographic Readers: Martin Luther King, Jr. (Readers Bios) by Kitson Jazynka, or Who Was Martin Luther King Jr.? by Bonnie Bader and Nancy Harrison.
  9. Have students listen to and discuss a selected portion of an audio version of Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech.
  10. Bring in a brown egg and a white egg and have students discuss what they think the inside looks like for each. Break the eggs open and have students discuss their feelings about the fact that the eggs look exactly the same on the inside. Lead a discussion on the ideas of diversity, sameness, and equality. 

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