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Unread Feb 25th, 2010, 05:29 pm
sophiie sophiie is offline
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Default Talking about the future: a lesson plan

Hello! I thought I'd share with you a lesson I've done a few times now that has always gone really well and received a lot of enthusiasm from the students.

The aim of the lesson is to get students using the future tense (as well as reviewing past and present) and to get a good discussion/debate going. The topic is robots.

1. Introduce the topic, ask the students what they think of when they hear the word 'robot'. Get them to think of films and TV programs with robots, eg. 'Wall-E', 'I, Robot', 'AI', 'Transformers', 'Terminator'...they should come up with a whole load of them, including ones you might not have heard of! Talk about whether the robots in these films are portrayed as good or bad.

2. Give out the handout (attached) and have the students read through it (I get a few of them to read it out loud, each student taking one section). Check for understanding.

3. Ask them what they think about the Wakamaru robot: is it good or bad? How much would you pay for a robot like this? Get them to try to guess how much it costs ($100,000 - sold in Japan).
Get a discussion/debate going with these questions:
If you could afford a Wakamaru robot, would you buy one?
If you had a personal robot, what would you want it to do for you? (homework, walk the dog, chores, go to school in your place, etc...they always come up with inventive ideas!)
Do robots make people too lazy? (Think of the humans in 'Wall-E'!)
Do you think that in the future, almost every family could have a robot, just like almost every family has a car?
Do you think some jobs might be replaced by robots one day? eg. secretary, binman, builder... What would it be like if nurses/doctors/lawyers/policemen were replaced by robots? Do you think it would be possible? Why/why not?
Could robots ever become too intelligent?
Do you think that one day robots could control humans?
Are robots scary or safe?

You can keep this discussion going for as long as you like - they will normally have lots of different opinions to share about it.

4. Draw up a table on the board with three columns: past, present, future. Get them to copy it down.
Ask them if they can think of anything in our day-to-day life that has changed from past to present thanks to technology. Give the example of transport: in the 'past' column write 'horse and carriage', and in the 'present' column elicit 'car', 'train', 'aeroplane', etc. Ask them how they think transport might change in the future. You might get the answers 'flying cars', 'spaceships', etc.
Fill out the rest of the table together, getting them to think of other things that have changed. Help them to come up with ideas, eg. 'think of things inside the house - washing the dishes? washing our clothes? hygiene?'
Some ideas that came up in my lesson today:
washed the dishes by hand - dishwasher - self-cleaning dishes
washed in a river - bath/shower - clothes that clean you when you wear them
cooked on a fire - oven/microwave - 'instant food' / meal in a pill
Let them be really creative, they'll enjoy it!

5. Have the students make sentences out of the information listed in the table, using the past, present and future tenses. Give them an example for the first:
'In the past, we used to ride/we rode by horse and carriage. Now, we have cars, trains and aeroplanes. Maybe in the future there will be flying cars and spaceships.

Hope you find this useful. Enjoy it!

Attached Files
File Type: doc wakamaru home robot.doc (458.0 KB, 1532 views)
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