Buddhism Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Use this lesson plan to teach your students about the history of Buddhism, its founder, and the basic beliefs of the faith. Finish up with a fun activity to demonstrate understanding.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • detail the history of Buddhism
  • explain Siddhartha Gautama's life
  • describe the main ideas of Buddhism


  • 1 hour


  • Template for cube, one for each student
  • KWL charts for each student
  • Scissors, markers, glue, tape

Key Vocabulary

  • Buddhism
  • Buddha
  • Siddhartha Gautama
  • Dharma
  • Nebulous
  • Asceticism
  • Bodhi Tree or Tree of Wisdom
  • Middle Way
  • Eightfold Path
  • Deer Park Discourse
  • Sangha
  • Enlightenment

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.1

Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.2.d

Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.


  • To engage and connect students, have them do a flash draft writing on the topic, 'What is enlightenment?' Ask students to share with their partners and the class, if they feel comfortable.
  • Tell students they will be learning about Buddhism, investigating the faith and its founder. Share prior knowledge of Buddhism and record on both a class and individual student KWL (Know, Want, Learned) charts.
  • Have students brainstorm questions to put in the 'W' section of the KWL. Share and record.
  • Show our video lesson Buddhism: The Middle Way to Enlightenment.
  • Ask students to take notes in the in the 'L' section of their charts.
  • Discuss:
    • Why do we take Siddhartha Gautama's history with a grain of salt?
    • What prompted Siddhartha Gautama to leave home? What was he searching for?
    • Describe the middle path. Why was this believed to be the key to happiness?
    • How did Buddhism grow as a faith?
  • Share student's information from the 'K' section of their charts. Record on the class copy.


  • Ask students to complete a 'Cube of Knowledge.' Students choose six important facts/concepts from the lesson and create a square for each. Decorate as time allows.
  • Have students share their cubes of knowledge with the class, explaining why certain facts were chosen. Display in classroom.


  • Compare and contrast the Eightfold Path and the Ten Commandments.
  • Ask students to write an explanatory essay using their cubes of knowledge as a starting point.
  • Investigate the Eightfold Path and the Four Noble Truths.

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