Though we all live in the present, many of us think about the future on a regular basis.
In fact, when we do think about the future, we usually make plans and set goals for ourselves. We have a sense of where we are going in life. Challenge your students to think about their personal futures and the future of the world around them with these activities that use the future tenses in English. For more ideas, take a look at our worksheets on Future Simple, Future Continuous, or Future Perfect.
Try These Future Tense Activities with Your Class!
Your Personal Future
We all spend time thinking about our personal futures. Whom will I meet? Where will I go? What will I do? Most students who travel to a foreign country for language studies have a very clear picture of their futures. Pair your students together to talk about their future plans. Have each student share any personal goals he or she might have. Then ask each person to explain how he or she will accomplish these goals.
If you students are not familiar with the concept, explain to them what a five-year plan and a ten-year plan are. Then give your class some time to think about where they would like their lives to be in five or ten years and how they will go about getting to those places. Once your students have finished their plans, pair them together to share these plans. Each person should use future tenses to describe what his or her life will look like in five years and ten years. Then each partner should share some thoughts about the plan, ask questions or make suggestions.
Five and ten years are quite a while away. If your students are having trouble seeing their lives so far in the future, bring the future tense a little closer to the present by asking each person what he or she will do when he returns to his home country. What are the first things you will do? Who are the first people you will see? Where are the first places you will go? Using the future tense, have each student write about his first day back in his native country once his English studies are complete.
The Future of Television
Television has been popular in American culture for many years, but there are some television shows that are still popular after decades on the air. One of these programs is the Andy Griffith Show. After its premier over fifty years ago, the program still has fans today and runs in syndicate on a daily basis. Challenge your students’ listening skills by showing them an episode of the program available on tvland.com. Then ask your students what they think made the show so popular.
After a look at the past of television, ask your students to take a look at what is popular on television today. What qualities do these shows possess? Have your students share why they think these programs are popular with audiences today. Then using the Andy Griffith show as an example from the past and a popular program from today, have your students make a list of what makes a television program successful. Do they think that any of today’s programs will still be popular in fifty years? Why or why not? What characteristics do they possess that will determine that success? How do these shows differ from ones that will not last or continue in popularity?
Now that your students have examined the past and present of television, have them predict what television in the future will be like. What characteristics will popular programs have? Why will they appeal to audiences? Then have your students work in groups to create a television show of the future. Each group should write a description of the program using future tenses. They should describe the premise of the show, the characters and the general content of the programs. Once the groups have written their descriptions, display them in your classroom and allow the rest of the class to vote on which show they think will be most popular in the future.
The Future of Technology
Over the past fifty years, technology has made some enormous leaps. Have your students think back to what life was like in the 1980’s. How has technology changed since then? What modern advances could your students not live without? Have your students imagine a future without that one technological advancement, and then have each person write a paragraph using future tenses that describes that daunting future.
One of the greatest advancements in recent history is that of the Internet. Have your students make a list of how the Internet affects their lives. Then have groups work together to imagine what the next great advancement in technology will be. Students should be creative and practical. How will their invention change the future? Have each group share their ideas with the class by using future tenses to describe a world with their new advancement.
Creating a Time Capsule
One of the most popular ways to touch the future is with a time capsule. Group your students into teams of three or four to create a time capsule. Each group should specify the items that will go into the time capsule, where it will be placed and when it will be opened. Then each group should imagine the future population’s reaction to their time capsule when it is finally opened. Have each group write a description of their time capsule being opened using future tenses. They should include the reaction that the people who open the capsule will have to the items inside.
No one can really know what the future will bring, but that is no reason to avoid thinking about it.
With a look at the past and present, your students can make informed predictions about the future and get a little grammar practice while they are at it.