How to Write a Lesson Plan for High School

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  • 0:01 Lesson Plan Defined
  • 0:41 The Lesson & Lesson Objective
  • 1:42 Standards & Key Terms
  • 3:20 Procedure & Materials
  • 5:06 Assessment & Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Derek Hughes

Derek has a Masters of Science degree in Teaching, Learning & Curriculum.

Knowing how to write a good lesson plan is an important skill for any teacher, especially those teaching high school. This lesson provides some tips for writing a high school lesson plan.

Lesson Plan Defined

Imagine entering a high school classroom tasked with instructing 20-25 high school students in 50 minutes. Would you rather wing it or follow a plan? Obviously, a lesson plan is the way to ensure that you accomplish your task efficiently.

To put it simply, a lesson plan is a detailed list of instructional strategies, materials, and objectives you need to teach a concept. It's your blueprint for a successful class period. Knowing what to put into a lesson plan is an incredibly useful skill that you will need for your entire teaching career. In this lesson, you'll learn about the important parts of a high school lesson plan by looking at an example.

The Lesson

The lesson plan detailed in this lesson is for a 10th grade biology class in which students are going to learn about the parts of a cell. There are 6 important components to a high school lesson plan. These are:

  1. Learning objective
  2. Standards
  3. Key terms
  4. Procedure
  5. Materials
  6. Assessment

Now let's explore each of these components through the lens of a 10th grade biology lesson.

Lesson Objective

The most important component of a lesson plan is the learning objective. A learning objective states in one sentence what students will learn and do during a particularly lesson. By having a clearly written learning objective, you know exactly what you want to focus on and have a clear goal set.

For our 10th grade biology lesson, the learning objective might read: 'Students will know the components of a cell by learning key terms, taking notes during a lecture, and labeling a diagram.' This objective states what students will do during the lesson and also indicates how they will demonstrate understanding and mastery of the objective. This last part will come up in a later section, also.


Your lesson plan must always be aligned with your state's educational standards. This is important because it helps keep you accountable for student learning and allows you to show that you are teaching your students the skills mandated by the state. Many times, whichever teaching program you use has the standards in the teacher's manual aligned with the activities detailed. However, you should still know which standards you are responsible for and include them in your lesson.

In the biology lesson, I will be using Pennsylvania's Standards Aligned System to determine which standards our lesson is aligned with. The standard is:

3.1.10.A8: Investigate the spatial relationships of organisms' anatomical features using specimens, models, or computer programs.

While this standard might not seem to directly relate to our learning objective, you will see later in the lesson that the materials and methods we use bring our learning objective and standard closer together.

Key Terms

At the high school level, you'll often be teaching students concepts unfamiliar to them. In elementary school, many concepts and skills repeat themselves with increasing complexity as students move up through the grades. In high school, learning gets more specific and technical, which is why it's important to keep in mind key terms students will need to know in order to understand the material you're teaching.

For our biology lesson, some of these key terms might include cell, nucleus, mitochondria, ribosome, nucleolus, lysosome, and many other biological terms. Students will need to know these words if they are to understand the parts of the cell and how they relate to one another, so it's important our lesson focuses on teaching these terms.


The procedure section of your lesson plan details exactly what you are going to do when teaching. It is a step-by-step guide for your lesson. This section can be as detailed as you want it to be. However, if you are just starting out in teaching, you might want to include as much detail as possible so you are prepared for anything that might come up. You should also include how long you expect each step to take to ensure you have enough time to cover everything you need to.

The steps of our biology lesson could include:

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