Lesson Plan: MLK March on Washington Artifact


The 1960s Civil Rights Movement sought to end segregation and discrimination against African Americans. One of the largest political rallies of the Civil Rights Movement was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. A key moment of the march was the “I have a dream” speech delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr. from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of 200,000-300,000. The effects of the March on Washington include building momentum for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


Martin Luther King Jr. wearing March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom button. By Rowland Scherman; restored by Adam Cuerden (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [CC0 or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Students will investigate and explore the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Right Movement through a reproduction of a button from the 1963 March on Washington.

Students will design, make and share a historical artifact that illustrates a significant aspect of the Civil Rights Movement.

Lesson Plan and Activity

Investigate: What is the significance of this button?
Teacher presents button to students and ask them to research and present why it is significant. (Teacher could tell students that a button has been donated to their history class and the students need to report on it’s historical significance. Or the students could be given the role of appraisers/expert and asked to explain the value of the piece. See Antiques Road Show or American Pickers as examples.)


Explore: Take Action
Teacher provides students with copies of the button to wear. (See included pdf.) Students are asked to plan/participate in an event/project/presentation to commemorate or recreate the march.
-Examples might include a march through the school or creating photos/videos of students marching. Students could also green screen themselves into photos/videos of the time period. Students might also take on the persona of people from the era and conduct historical interviews from the march.

Design/Make/Share: Civil Rights Era Artifact
Authentic Challenging Problem: Create a historical artifact that represents the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. or illustrates a significant aspect of the Civil Rights Movement.

Research and then design the artifact in 3D modeling software such as Tinkercad or Morphi.

Make the artifact using a 3D printer. Iterate the design if necessary for printability. Take photos of finished design.

Share design on Thingiverse. Be sure to include a photo and key fields such as summary, category and tags.

Teacher may want students to document process with the Mini Maker Notebook – Thingiverse Edition http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:93186

Download Files:  mlk_march_on_washington_button Files are available for 3D printing including a dual extrusion version, laser cutting and 2D printing.

Creative Commons License Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Source: Multiple source images were used to create the vector image for this design with http://buttonmuseum.org/buttons/march-washington-jobs-and-freedom providing the primary visual source material.

Thingiverse Link: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2018467