Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.

Lesson Three: Elementary Post Viewing Lesson

Grade Level: Elementary School: 3rd to 5th Grade Duration: Fifty minutes

Activity I – 15 minutes

  • Distribute Handout A: All Men Are Created Equal. Use available technology to project the words on a screen for the class. Explain that the phrase is taken from the Declaration of Independence (1776).
  • Ask students to work in pairs and, working one word a time if necessary, rewrite the sentence in their own words.
  • Have students share their responses and keep a running list for the class to see. (For example, We believe it is very clear that everyone is born with equal rights; or, We know it is true and everyone is made with the same rights.)
  • Discuss with students how the Declaration has, as discussed in the We the People film inspired generations of Americans. Two prominent Americans, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr., worked to make the blessings of liberty a reality for more and more Americans.

Activity II – 20 minutes

  • Have students prepare a Venn diagram. Give each student a 9 x 13 piece of construction paper and 8.5 x 11 white paper. They should glue the piece of white paper in the middle of the construction paper leaving room on each side to write.
  • On one side of the construction paper they should write “Abraham Lincoln” and on the other side, they should write “Martin Luther King Jr.” The should label the middle “Both”.
  • Distribute Handout B: Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. Still working in pairs, have students recall and discuss what they learned about Lincoln and King in the film We the People. Using that information and their own knowledge of history, they should then students cut out the slips and arrange them in the correct place on the Venn diagram.

Wrap-up – 10 minutes

  • Debrief students about what they learned about these two individuals.
    • What did they have in common?
    • What were some of the differences between them?
    • Why would a class learn about Abraham Lincoln at the same time they learn about Martin Luther King, Jr? How do their lives’ work fit together in the story of America?
    • What did the Declaration of Independence have to do with the work of these two men?
  • Conduct a large group discussion to answer these and any other questions students have.


Have students draw a small illustration on either side of the construction paper representing Lincoln or King. Finally, students should draw an illustration on the piece of white paper that represents the work of both Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. When work has finished, have students post their projects around the room. Give students time to view them all.


  • Handout A: All Men Are Created Equal
  • Handout B: Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Construction paper
  • White, unlined paper