In the Future Timeline ESL activity, students predict a timeline of future world events.
Divide the class into groups of three or four students (you could also do this activity with only one student).
- On the board, present six to ten ‘future events’, using sentences in the present simple. For example:
– Astronauts land on Mars.
– All TV is Internet-based.
– Scientists find a cure for cancer.
– Driverless cars are common.
– Almost all homes have a robot.
– Alien life is discovered.
– Delivery drones are common.
- Each group decides when they think these events will happen, with approximate dates.
- The students prepare and write complete sentences by changing the tense to future simple. For example, Delivery drones will be common in 2022.
- Optionally, you can also ask students to add a few of their own predictions to their timeline.
- The groups take turns presenting their timelines, drawing them on the board and making predictions in the target language (all students must speak). Higher-level students should also provide reasoning/justification for their predictions.
- When all groups are finished, discuss as a class the similarities and differences between the timelines. See if you can come to an overall consensus.
With more advanced students, you could then open the activity up to a wider class discussion on the future of science and technology.
The Future Timeline ESL activity is a great way to practise the future simple with high beginner or intermediate students. For intermediate students, you could also introduce use of modal verbs for future possibility (may, might and could) as you discuss the timelines.
While the grammar is basic for higher intermediate and advanced students, it is still a good exercise to promote conversation on the topic of science and/or technology. They should justify each prediction on their timelines based on recent developments and the world today.
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