Initial Publication Date: May 17, 2006

Lesson Planning Worksheet

This worksheet is based on Dr. Carol Ormand's lesson planning method, and will be more effective if you read this description of her method, including the research on learning underlying it.

Download this worksheet. (Microsoft Word 41kB Jan20 06) The downloadable version has space for you to write in your ideas. This online version, though, includes hotlinks to tools and resource collections.

Identify one learning goal for the class period.

Choose a specific, measurable goal that supports your goals for the course. It should also advance your students' abilities to DO science. Think beyond knowledge and understanding. What will students be able to do with their knowledge? How will they demonstrate their understanding?

"At the end of the class period, students will be able to _____."

Identify the prerequisite(s)

What will your students need to have done, prior to this class, to be ready for class? What skills will they need to have mastered; what terminology or background information will they need to know? How will you help them to prepare for class?

Choose an appropriate teaching method or methods for the learning goal chosen above

Although many methods are appropriate for many types of learning goals, some will be more appropriate than others. Familiarity with a variety of teaching methods will help you to identify a good one.

Brainstorm several possible activities...

... that would satisfy the learning goal you've set for the day, using appropriate teaching methods. (You can do this in a few minutes, with practice.) Consider which of them you find most appealing, which you have time for, and which would be most effective.

Design the details

Does an exercise like this already exist, within the SERC, DLESE, or other online collections? What materials will you need to gather? What will you need to write/create? Remember that you may need to design homework assignments or other materials to help your students to come to class prepared for the activity you have in mind.

What will students have completed at the end of the class period?

Will they turn anything in? If so, what?

Choose a method of assessment

How will you assess whether students have achieved the learning goal? Will you use an in-class assessment at the end of the day, or a later assessment, or both? Remember that timely feedback reinforces learning, and can also build students' confidence, and therefore their enjoyment of your class. For ideas about how to assess learning, see the Cutting Edge page on assessment or the Starting Point page on assessment.

Plan your in-class presentation

The success of active learning exercises very much depends on how you present them to your students. Think about how you will frame the activity you have chosen: how will you make sure that students understand why it is a vital part of the course and how it supports the course goals? How will you set up the activity so that students understand clearly what they are to accomplish, and how to go about doing it?