Hints, tips, and grading rubric for a lesson plan assignment

Secondary School Science Teaching Methods

Adam Johnston & Sharon Ohlhorst

An instructor will ask the following questions as your lesson plan is being graded:

bullet Does the lesson make sense?  Does it present a picture of your lesson, your classroom, and how it fits into a specific context?  Can someone else in science education look at your lesson plan and understand basically what you set out to do, what the lesson is about, and what your goals are?
bullet Is a specific grade level, class, and/or ILO appropriately addressed?  Is it clear what concepts are to be learned in this lesson?
bullet Is this clearly guided by a teaching philosophy and/or a teaching strategy?  Does this lesson explicitly address anticipated difficulties that its targeted audience will have with this anticipated concept?
bullet Does the lesson explicitly describe the materials or resources that will be used for this lesson?
bullet Does the lesson implement an appropriate assessment for the concept being taught?
bullet Is the lesson well thought out and creative?  Is it informed by what we know about learning (e.g., constructivism and conceptual change theory)?
bullet Is there a specific instruction that was given for this particular lesson plan and was it addressed explicitly and clearly with the lesson plan?

Hints for completing a lesson plan:

bullet For the love of all things beautiful, please proofread your lesson plan and make sure that it really is clear.  When in doubt, have someone else who is not necessarily familiar with the lesson read your plan and explain what is not made clear.  Also, do not rely on your spell check it does knot catch olive you’re miss steaks!
bullet Write an introductory paragraph that clearly lays out the context of this lesson (e.g., the grade level, the class, the core curriculum and ILO’s being addressed, etc.), what concepts are being taught, what strategies you are using to help develop student understanding of a given concept, and what problems you anticipate your students will have with the given concept.  After your lesson plan is laid out, reread your introductory paragraph and see if it actually coincides with the lesson plan.
bullet Ask yourself if you are teaching in a particular way simply because it is the way that you have been taught in the past, or if there really could be a better way to address learning in your classroom.  We are all different teachers and will all use different teaching techniques, but your techniques should be diverse in order to address the needs of a diverse group of learners.
bullet Make sure that your lesson fits into a grander theme than just a single topic.  Granted, it is interesting to learn about the nonexistent thalamus of an octopus, but a lesson on this should be related to a more general theme and be connected to other aspects of your curriculum.  More importantly, your students should be able to see these themes and connections.


A grading rubric for lesson plans:


Lesson plan description:



Grade equivalent:


This lesson plan is distinguished by the extraordinary amount of effort and reflection that went into it.  It is especially creative, in addition to having a very clear goal, method, and assessment technique.  It uses a consistent and clear teaching methodology that is clearly based on an existent understanding of the learning of a particular concept.  This score is received on a small minority of lesson plans.




100% = A+


This lesson plan is made very clear and complete, with a very clear goal, method, and assessment technique.  It uses a consistent and clear teaching methodology that is based on an existent understanding of the learning of a particular concept.  Essentially, this score is reserved for lesson plans which are generally more sophisticated than the average lesson.  It is clear that an good deal of effort went into the development of this lesson plan, and the student/teacher learned a great deal from putting it together.




95% = A


This is a good lesson.  It is complete and gives a clear picture of what your classroom will look like; and, though it might need some extra clarification and/or miss some information, the goal and direction of the lesson are well conceived.  This student/teacher put an adequate amount of work into the development of this lesson and it is evident that s/he learned something from it.




85% = B


This lesson is mostly complete, but it might be missing a major component that would clarify its goal and/or its methods.  Or, it may not have addressed a specific component that was asked for.  Or, there might exist several small inadequacies in the lesson that add up to a general lack of clarity.  This lesson may be difficult to follow and to understand its justification, even though the reader could follow the basic idea of what the lesson would look like in the classroom.  Although the student/teacher completing this lesson plan probably learned something from it, s/he also may have missed some important points.




70% = C


This lesson plan probably has some major flaws.  This may be due to incorrectly completing the assignment, not including several major components of a lesson plan, or just a large-scale lack of effort.  This score is usually received by only a small minority of lesson plans.




60% = D


This assignment was not completed, or did not satisfy enough project requirements to receive credit.