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Blog criado por Bruno Coriolano de Almeida Costa, professor de Língua Inglesa desde 2002. Esse espaço surgiu em 2007 com o objetivo de unir alguns estudiosos e professores desse idioma. Abordamos, de forma rápida e simples, vários aspectos da Língua Inglesa e suas culturas. Agradeço a sua visita.

"Se tivesse perguntado ao cliente o que ele queria, ele teria dito: 'Um cavalo mais rápido!"

segunda-feira, 31 de março de 2014

Predictions in English: Reading, speaking, grammar and writing activities. Part one.

Let’s talk about the future in English (predictions). In this very specific case, I would like to share an activity I have used in my lessons about future possibility (will, won’t, may, might, and could).

First of all, I wrote “Life in the future” and “home” on the board. After that, I asked how they think houses will be in the future. Then they talked, firstly in pairs, about what their thoughts are (were) and then shared them with the whole group.

We all read a text about the future called “What Does the Future Hold?”

We spoke to Professor John Williams, futurologist, for his expert predications on life in the next few decades.
  Well, the first thing to say is that I don’t believe we’re all going to be living in treehouses and walking or cycling everywhere. We are going to have to make changes though.
  Unfortunately, it looks quite likely that the climate may change significantly, with hotter summers, colder winters and more flooding. At the same time, fuel for heating or air conditioning will probably become much more expensive. For these reasons, our houses will definitely have to become much better insulated. People are already building so-called ‘passive houses,’ which have little or no central heating at all, relying on the body heat of the people who live there.
  Homes probably won’t be as big, and so we will need more adaptable furniture, such as sofa-beds, and when we are not using our furniture we will be able to fold it away into wall cabinets. Houses could have movable walls so that the same space can be arranged in different ways. Tabletops may double as computer screens or DVD players.
  New technology will make us more self-sufficient. Kitchens may have fish tanks which, as well as providing fish to eat, also produce fresh vegetables. The plants will provide oxygen for the fish. These tanks will be powered by household waste and create energy, which can then be used to run the family car – though we might not all have cars!
  Water will definitely be more expensive and the home of the future will probably be designed to use much less. Washing machines and dishwashers might use sound wave to shake dirt off. We may even take showers using sound waves. What water we do use will be recycled and used again round the house and private swimming pools will become a thing of the past.
  We will also certainly have more robots in our homes, though they won’t look like the ones in films. There will probably be small robots designed to clean the fridge or open the curtains. Clever fridges will tell us when food is about to go out of date and even suggest recipes, and we will be able to communicate with our homes by mobile phone wherever we are.

After reading it, I asked them this quite simple question:

Which of the predictions in the article do you think are likely to happen? Why?

I had to explain the meaning of “likely” to some of them.*

Students all talked about it very enthusiastically and then, they were asked to listen to a listening activity and tick the predictions they think are likely to happen and cross those ones they think are unlikely to happen.

We obviously had to observe the uses of will and won’t. Well, in case you are not aware of their uses, we use will and won’t + an adverb to say how likely something is in the future. However, the positions of will and won’t will certainly vary.

Will comes before the adverb as in “I’ll definitely go” or “I’ll probably stay”. Notice that both sentences are affirmative (positive) sentences.

Won’t, on the other hand, comes after the adverb as in “I certainly won’t go” or “I probably won’t stay”.

Well, what happens if you’re not certain about something? In this case, we should use may (may not), might (might not), or could (but not “couldn’t” for possibility in the future).

Julia may meet us later for a drink or two.

The store might not be open.

Having said and done all above, we started a very good activity in which we had to talk and write about the past (25 years ago).

Students were asked to look at the sentences about twenty-five years ago and change them so that they would make predictions about the next twenty-five years.



Twenty-five years ago…
Most people had cars.

In the next twenty-five years…
There will probably be fewer cars because of the price of fuel.

Twenty-five years ago…
People wrote more letters.

In the next twenty-five years…
(Students’ answers)

Twenty-five years ago…

Most people watched videos rather than DVDs.

In the next twenty-five years…
(Students’ answers)

Twenty-five years ago…

People didn’t worry about wasting water.

In the next twenty-five years…
(Students’ answers)

Twenty-five years ago…

Most people didn’t have mobile phones.

In the next twenty-five years…
(Students’ answers)

Twenty-five years ago…

People didn’t buy organic food.

In the next twenty-five years…
(Students’ answers)

We checked all the possibilities and then finished this activity by asking students about their plans for the next ten years (2014-2024). They were supposed to use will, may, might, could, and the negative forms if necessary.

In the end of the lesson, learners were asked to write two predictions for people in the classroom. They were told to not write people’s names. Having finished that, they gave me back the pieces of papers I had given them and we read the predictions trying to guess who the predictions were about.

If you liked this activity, share it. It was made to provide teachers with more options. Doing that, everyone will benefit from it.  

This activity has been developed by Bruno Coriolano as part of his lesson plan. In case you want to download it, click here.

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