Social Studies Lesson Plan
"I Have a Dream"

Try this social studies lesson plan: dig deeper into the Latin roots of vocabulary words in Dr. King's I Have a Dream speech.

Let students discover the power of Latin roots in English derivatives.

All of the following words occur in Dr. King's speech, delivered on the steps of the Lincoln memorial in 1964.

Emancipation: From the Latin noun for hand, manus. Those who are emancipated are released from the controlling hand of their master. Add depth to the linguistic study of slavery in your next social studies lesson plan.

captivity: In Latin, captivus is one who has been captured and held as a slave. Captivity is the abstract noun, meaning the state of being captured or held.

manacles: Also from the Latin noun manus, meaning hand. Manacles are cuffs placed on the captive's hands to control his movements.

segregation: From the Latin root meaning flock or group (grex, gregis). One who is segregated is cut off from the rest of the flock, as slaves were cut off from participating in free america.

discrimination: From the Latin noun discrimen, discriminis, which means a separating line, a division, or a distinction.

prosperity: From the Latin adjective prosperus, -a, -um, meaning fortunate, lucky, or successful.

languishing: From the Latin verb languere, meaning to wilt, be tired, lack vigor. Don't let your social studies lesson plan languish in the classroom.

Constitution: From the Latin verb constituere, meaning to establish. The constitution is the establishment of a new country.

Declaration: From the Latin verb declarare, to make clear, explain; from the Latin adjective clarus, -a, -um, meaning clear.

Independence: The Latin verb dependere means to hang from or depend upon. The prefix in- means not.

promissory: From the Latin adjective promissus, -a, -um, meaning sent in advance, promissed.

unalienable: From the Latin adjective alienus, -a, -um, meaning belonging to another. Unalienable rights are those that cannot be taken away or transferred to another person.

obvious: The Latin prefix ob-, meaning against, + the noun via, meaning road or way. The basic meaning is standing in the way, i.e. you can't miss it. Make your next social studies lesson plan less obvious and more engaging for students.

obligation: The same prefix ob- + the verb ligare, meaning to tie or bind. An obligation is that by which one is bound.

urgency: From the Latin verb urgere, to squeeze or to bear down upon.

tranquilizing: From the Latin adjective tranquillus, -a, -um, meaing calm, peaceful, quiet.

gradualism: From the Latin noun gradus, -us, meaning a step. See more English vocabulary words from this Latin root.

legitimate: From the Latin noun lex, legis, meaing law. Legitimate means according to law.

invigorating: From the Latin noun vigor, vigoris, meaning strength, energy, activity. Invigorate your latest social studies lesson plan with Latin roots!

tranquility: See tranquillizing above. From the Latin adjective tranquillus, -a, -um.

citizenship: From the Latin noun civis, civis, meaning citizen.

revolt: From the Latin verb revolvere, to roll back or against.

emerges: From the Latin verb mergere, meaning to sink. To emerge means to rise up from a sunken position.

dignity: From the Latin adjective dignus, -a, -um. See more dignus vocabulary words.

discipline: From the Latin verb disco, discere, meaning to teach. Or from the noun discipulus, meaning student or follower.

degenerate: The Latin prefix de- means down from, while the noun genus means race or clan. The Latin verb degenerare means to decline from the high standard of one's forefathers.

militancy: From the Latin noun miles, militis, meaning soldier.

destiny: From the Latin verb destinare, meaning to fasten down or to arrange or design.

inextricably: The Latin prefix ex- means from, while the noun tricae means triffles or troubles. So extricate means to remove from troubles, difficulties, or triffles. Inextricable means not able to be removed from troubles.

mobility: From the Latin adjective mobilis, meaning able to be moved.

satisfied: From the Latin adverb satis, meaning enough.

tribulations: From the Latin verb tribulare, meaing to oppress.

persecution: From the Latin prefix per-, meaning throughly or closely, and the Latin verb sequor, sequi, secutus sum, meaning to follow. So to persecute means to persue closely and relentlessly.

veterans: From the Latin adjective vetus, veteris, meaing old or former.

redemptive: The Latin prefix re- means back, while the verb emere means to buy. Redemption is a buying back of something lost.

despair: The prefix de-, meaning down from, and the verb sperare, to hope for. To despair is to put hope aside.

oppression: From the Latin verb premo, premere, pressi, pressus, meaning to crush or overwhelm.

interposition: From the Latin prefix inter-, meaning between, and the verb pono, ponere, posui, positus, meaning to place.

nullification: From nullus, -a, -um, meaing none, and facio, facere, feci, factus, meaning to make. To nullify means to make into nothing, delete, destroy.

exalted: From the Latin verb exaltare, to raise up high. Ex- means out from, while altus, -a, -um means high or deep.

discords: The Latin prefix dis-, meaning in different directions, and the noun cor, cordis meaning heart. Discord means clashing feelings or beliefs.

symphony: From Greek root words meaning same and sound, i.e. harmonious, the opposite of discord.

Include Latin roots in your next social studies lesson plan.

This is not an exhaustive list of words with Latin roots in Dr. King's momentous speech.

But the point is not to give every possible root.

The point is to teach students the vocabulary-building power of Latin roots.

And to help put together solid social studies lesson plan, too.


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