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sophiie Feb 25th, 2010 05:29 pm

Talking about the future: a lesson plan
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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! :D


Pillsbury Mar 2nd, 2010 01:11 am

Re: Talking about the future: a lesson plan
Thanks Sophie, cool plan.

Lorna G Mar 26th, 2010 09:35 am

Re: Talking about the future: a lesson plan
I really like this, a great subject to get people talking, Thanks!

shitalv1906 Apr 5th, 2010 12:33 am

Re: Talking about the future: a lesson plan
Hi... good one...
i am sure that participants will love to talk about these things....
robot, machines, etc...

Sina N Apr 8th, 2010 11:14 am

Re: Talking about the future: a lesson plan
Sounds great! Cant wait to try it on my teens!

coolenglishpz Jul 20th, 2011 11:17 am

Re: Talking about the future: a lesson plan
Love this idea!!!! Maybe it's too cool for school :)

Waikiki Sep 8th, 2011 05:45 am

Re: Talking about the future: a lesson plan
thanks Sophiie...really cool lesson:)

Larsonsinasia Nov 23rd, 2013 03:20 am

Re: Talking about the future: a lesson plan
Awesome lesson! I'm going to try it this week!!!

abarboza Nov 27th, 2013 09:14 am

Re: Talking about the future: a lesson plan
A great resource to have a can/can't lesson and to have students talk. Thanks for sharing

VVinJapan Nov 4th, 2014 08:21 pm

Re: Talking about the future: a lesson plan
Thanks! This is great... Especially because I'm teaching ESL in Japan :D

hadadeanis Oct 12th, 2015 10:13 pm

Re: Talking about the future: a lesson plan
very useful, thanks a million :)

Nguyen Duc Huy Dec 24th, 2015 03:20 am

Re: Talking about the future: a lesson plan
Thank you very much. This is such a good idea to help students review the use of tenses. I'm going to apply this lesson to my class and I'm sure my students will like it a lot!

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