What Is Science? - 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.

Students often have a difficult time constructing a definition of science. This lesson will guide students through science as a whole, then break it down into its component parts. A simple Venn diagram activity will help students explain many of the branches of science.

Learning Objectives:

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • construct a definition of science
  • list and explain the several branches of science


60-90 minutes

Curriculum Standards:


Introduce a topic; organize ideas, concepts, and information, using strategies such as definition, classification, comparison/contrast, and cause/effect; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.


Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).


What is Science?

  • In the front of the whole group, pose the question 'What is science?'
  • Ask students to suggest answers to the question. Write their ideas on the board (or in some other form visible to all students).
  • Watch the first section of the lesson What is Science? - Definition, Topics & Branches.
  • In pairs, have students write a complete definition of science. Encourage them to use outside sources to add additional ideas to the definition.
  • Ask the class to answer the question 'What is science?' again and construct a class definition on the board.

Branches of Science

  • Next, watch the remainder of the lesson. They can take notes on if it helps them remember key points.
  • Individually, have students create a Venn diagram of two of the branches of science explained in the lesson. For an additional challenge (or to differentiate the lesson for advanced learners) they can attempt to create a Venn diagram of three of the branches.
  • Ask for volunteers to present their Venn diagram. Have students take notes on anything that is listed in the overlapping portion of the diagram.
  • When presentations are finished, refer back to the class definition of science. Ask students to point out any differences or similarities in the class definition and items that were listed in the overlapping portions of students' Venn diagrams.


  • Have students pair up (or form groups of 3 or 4) and construct a poster or digital product that depicts and explains all the branches of science found in the lesson.

Related Lessons:

The Nature of Science

What is Scientific Research?

The Scientific Method: Steps, Terms & Examples

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.