Life Cycle Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Use this lesson plan to teach your students about a life cycle. A video lesson defines the term and provides examples of types of life cycles and their stages as students interact with content to show understanding.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define life cycle
  • explain the stages of life cycles


1 - 1.5 hours


  • Prepared index cards with an organism written on each
  • Access to technology and the internet
  • Paper
  • Colored pencils

Key Vocabulary

  • Life cycle
  • Fertilized egg/seed
  • Immature juvenile
  • Adult
  • Life span
  • Seed
  • Seedling
  • Alevin
  • Fry
  • Smolt
  • Ocean phase adult salmon
  • Spawning phase adult salmon
  • Infancy
  • Childhood
  • Adolescence
  • Adulthood

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.7.1

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.3

Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.4

Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.

Warm Up and Preparation

  • Connect students to the topic by asking them to make a quick sketch of their family tree, including grandparents, aunts, etc.
  • Now have students look at their family tree and have them determine which life cycle stage their family members are in: fertilized egg, infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood.
  • Share answers and discuss what criteria they used to determine stages, such as age or maturity. How did they decide one was in childhood instead of adolescence, for example?
  • Start the video lesson What is a Life Cycle? - Definition, Stages & Examples and pause at 1:55.
  • Define 'life cycle' and make a chart on the board that contains columns titled: 'Number of Stages,' 'Length of Stages' and 'Notes.' Make several rows without labels.

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