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 a lesson plan 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 structuring the lesson plan like a table, describing for each learning activity:

  • The topic;
  • The duration and the start and ending times;
  • The goal, aligned to the learning goals;
  • 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 lesson plan below. You may also want to list the learning objectives that the lesson will cover at the top, as a reminder.

Figure 1: example of a lesson plan

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, energizer 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:

  • Use interactive learning strategies to actively engage students in the learning process, using a mix of different activities that allow them to work in groups, pairs or individually.
  • 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.
  • Make sure you provide plenty of breaks. Preferably every 30 minutes.
  • 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 help

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