"The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom."

Isaac Asimov (1920 – 1992), American science fiction writer and professor of biochemistry
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This free ESL lesson plan on science has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

Science is an evidence-based pursuit of knowledge that seeks to understand the natural world and the laws governing it. It encompasses the exploration, observation, experimentation, and analysis of various phenomena, leading to the formulation of theories and principles. Science is important because it allows us to uncover the mysteries of the universe and provides a framework for comprehending the complexities of life. It enables us to develop new technologies, improve medical treatments, address environmental challenges, and enhance our understanding of ourselves and the world we inhabit. Unfortunately, over the last decade or so, many people have come to the conclusion that when science contradicts their pre-existing beliefs, science can simply be ignored. In this ESL lesson plan on science, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as how science searches for knowledge and how this helps humanity.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for World Science Day, which takes place in November. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.


Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

Sydney Morning Herald | How to think like a scientist – and why you should

The article gives a number of recommendations for thinking like a scientist, including keeping an open mind, being sceptical and accepting uncertainty. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was said? Can they think of any ways they might disagree with the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. The questions for the video are styled in a way similar to an exam like the IELTS.

The video for this class is a called “Top 10 Greatest Scientific Discoveries of All Time” by WatchMojo which lists a number of important scientific breakthroughs, including sequencing the human genome, Einstein’s theory of relativity, and vaccines.


The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including the most interesting branches of science, famous scientists and their theories, and predictions for future scientific discoveries.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with science such as scientific consensus, pseudoscience and rocket science. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about political ideologies. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as how we can trust science, science denial and whether there are any negative effects of science.


After the class, students will write about their opinion of science. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.


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