Create a lesson plan

When the overall structure of your course is clear, you can focus on the individual lessons. What learning objectives do you want to cover? What activities will you use to allow students to practice these objectives? These questions and more make up a lesson plan; a concise description of how the lesson will take place. This page will guide you through the steps of creating a lesson plan.

Why it is useful

Writing a lesson plan for each lesson takes time. So, why create one?

  • Writing a lesson plan beforehand gives you time to think about the activities you want to use and how to use them more deliberately.
  • Having a lesson plan can help you feel more relaxed in class, as you can always fall back on what you have prepared.
  • Having a lesson plan can help you feel more relaxed in class, as you can always fall back on what you have prepared.

Basic structure

A lesson plan can come in many shapes and sizes, but we recommend the following structure.

Start the lesson plan with the name of the lesson. Next, list the learning objectives that the lesson will cover.

The body of the lesson plan will be a table describing each learning activity. Write down the topic of the activity, how much time it will take, the goal of the activity, a description of the activity from the viewpoint of both the student and the lecturer, and finally the materials needed, like specific hand-outs, slides, or lab materials. See an example below. 

Topic Duration Time Goal Student activity Teacher activity Materials needed
Welcome and introduction 10 00:00-00:10 Warm-up Ask questions, share expectations Share inspiring example, name learning objectives, and ask students to ask questions and share expectations. -
First law of thermodynamics 20 min 00:10-00:30 Remember Work in groups to explain to each other the first law of thermodynamics. Each group shares their best answer with the class. Time keeping, answering questions. Pen and paper


Visit the page on Designing Learning Activities for more information on, and inspiration for, creating these learning activities.

Suggested activities

We suggest dividing a lesson plan into three distinct parts - a beginning, a middle, and an end – and consider including the following activities in each part:

In the beginning:

  • Use a spark or inspiring example to capture interest, explain the relevance and motivate students to learn.
  • Name the learning objectives for the lesson.
  • Assess prior learning, questions and student expectations.

In the middle:

  • Employ interactive learning strategies to actively engage students in the learning process.
  • Provide opportunities for practice and feedback.

And finally at the end of the lesson:

  • Assess what students have learned (formatively).
  • Summarise the lesson.
  • Connect the lesson to real life and/or the next lesson.

Further considerations

  • Try to tailor the plan to the specific group of students you will be teaching and make modifications to cater for specific needs.
  • Consider that not all students have the same preferences or learning curves. Account for differences, such as extroverts and introverts, and thus allowing for working together and/or alone. The same applies for learning curves. Some students might need more time than others. Design your lesson plan accordingly.
  • Be sure to assess student work and progress. Do they seem to have mastered the learning objective? What other strategy can you employ to attain this objective? If you have a class with ample time to cover the subject matter, leave ten minutes or so at the end for questions.

How to get support

Do you need support creating your lesson plans? Reach out to the educational advisors of your faculty or contact Teaching Support for 1-on-1 guidance.