teaching resource

MLK Day Vocabulary Activity

Teach Starter Publishing
PDF | 4 pages | Grades: 3 - 6

Build dictionary and vocabulary skills by identifying the meanings of words related to Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights.

Define 10 MLK & Civil Rights Vocabulary Words

Use this resource leading up to MLK Day to introduce students to important vocabulary

Students will define the following words, put them into their own terms, and use the word in a sentence: 

  • justice
  • equality
  • segregation
  • prejudice
  • tolerance
  • activist
  • freedom
  • legacy
  • racism
  • discrimination

There’s an optional blank space included for students to include a word of your or their choosing that relates to the content.  

Through this activity, students will show they can consult reference materials for words they don’t understand, and put their own ideas and feelings into writing. 

Scaffolding + Extension Tips 

Use this independent exercise as an exit ticket or reading center activity on the days around MLK Day. Additionally, you can use this vocabulary exercise as a:

  • Civil rights movement lesson activity
  • Black History Month lesson activity
  • Homework assignment
  • Whole-class lesson review (via smartboard)

Students who need extra support can complete this worksheet in a 1:1 teacher intervention setting or your guided reading group

Fast finishers can use reference materials to identify each word’s synonyms and antonyms and put the words in alphabetical order. 

Ways To Prepare This Resource 

Use the dropdown menu to choose between color or black and white PDF versions.  

To turn this teaching resource into a sustainable activity, print a few copies on cardstock and slip them into dry-erase sleeves. Students can record their answers with a dry-erase marker, then erase and reuse. 

Additionally, project the worksheet onto a screen and work through it as a class by having students record their answers in their notebooks.

Get More Martin Luther King, Jr. Day teaching resources »


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