Scientific Theory Lesson Plan

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Use this lesson plan to introduce students to scientific theories. Students will watch a video lesson, discuss what they have learned, and create their own theories in the classroom.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define scientific theory
  • describe the characteristics of a scientific theory and apply them to a real-world example


60-90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


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.


Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic.


  • Begin the lesson by writing the word 'theory' on the board. Ask students for input on what this term means. What does it mean in everyday life? What does it mean in science?
  • Begin the video lesson What is the Scientific Theory? - Definition, Characteristics & Example.
  • Pause the video at 1:20 and revisit the discussion questions from the lesson opening. Can students revise their thinking with this new information?
  • Resume the video. Pause it again at 1:44. Discuss the following questions:
    • What is the difference between scientific fact and a scientific theory?
    • Can you give some examples of each? (Make a list on the board of each.)
  • Resume the video. As the video plays, write each of the five characteristics of scientific theory on the board.
  • When the video has finished, discuss each of the terms, one at a time, and write a class-consensus definition on the board.

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