Writing a Lesson Plan: Objectives and Goals

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Objectives, also known as goals, are the first step in writing a strong lesson plan. This article includes descriptions of the objectives of lesson plans, how to write them, examples, and tips.

Goal-Writing Tips

Whenever possible, write clearly-defined and specific objectives (goals) that are easy to measure. That way, at the conclusion of your lesson, it will be relatively easy to determine if you met or missed your objectives, and by how much.

Objective

In the objectives section of your lesson plan, write precise and delineated goals for what you want your students to be able to accomplish after the lesson is completed. Here is an example: Let's say that you are writing a lesson plan on nutrition. For this unit plan, your objective for the lesson is for students to identify the food groups, learn about the food pyramid, and name a few examples of healthy and unhealthy foods. Your goals should be specific and use exact figures and phrasing whenever appropriate. This will help you quickly and easily determine if your students met the objectives or not after the lesson is over.

What to Ask Yourself

In order to define your lesson's objectives, consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • What will students accomplish during this lesson?
  • To what specific level (i.e. 75% accuracy) will students need to be able to perform a given task in order for them to be considered proficient and their progress satisfactory?
  • Exactly how will the students show that they understood and learned the goals of your lesson (worksheet, oral, group work, presentation, illustration, etc)?

Additionally, you will want to make sure that the lesson's objectives align with district and state educational standards for your grade level. By thinking clearly and thoroughly about the goals of your lesson, you will ensure that you are making the most of your teaching time.

Examples

Here are a few examples of what an objective would look like in a lesson plan.

  • After reading the book Life in the Rainforest, sharing a class discussion, and drawing plants and animals, students will be able to place six specific characteristics into a Venn diagram of the similarities and differences of plants and animals with 100% accuracy.
  • While learning about nutrition, students will keep a food journal, create a balanced meal using the food pyramid or food plate, write a recipe for a healthy snack, and name all of the food groups and a few foods that correlate with them.
  • While learning about the local government, the goal of this lesson is to have students identify the specific components of local government and be able to generate four to six sentences using local government facts and vocabulary.
  • While students learn about the pattern of digestion, by the end of the lesson they will know how to physically point out areas of the digestive tract, as well as tell specific facts about how the food we eat can turn into the fuel that our bodies need.

After the objective, you will define the anticipatory set.

Edited by: Janelle Cox