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Fun Future Predictions Activities

By Alex Case
Stimulating classroom practice for predictions with will, might, going to, etc, including future predictions games

Although most language learners already know “will”, it can be difficult for them to get used to using it for future predictions (not plans, arrangements, etc). It is also challenging to know how to contrast and combine it with other forms like “going to” for predictions with present evidence, “could possibly” for lower chances, and “will have + PP” and “will be + v+ing” for particular time periods. Classroom practice of predictions is therefore often necessary at all levels from Elementary to Advanced, meaning that you will need the kind of wide range of different activities that are described here.

Future predictions video activities

Students ask for a video to be stopped whenever they think they know how it will continue, then get points every time that their prediction comes true on screen (and they use the right language to make it). For more challenge and more controlled practice, you can ask them to make paired predictions with “going to” for what is evident on screen and then “will” for the subsequent consequences of that. 

Future predictions guess the year

One student chooses a future year such as “2090” and gives hints about what will be true, might be true, etc in that year (with sentences like “A large minority of people will be living in space” and “We will use wearable technology more than smartphones”) until someone guesses which year they chose. To boost the number of predictions, only allow one guess per hint.

To make the task easier, you will probably need to allow or encourage other hints too like “No, I don’t think that will be true by then because…”, “That’s possible, but I think that will be true much earlier too” and “This could be true then too, but the year I chose is a little later than that”. 

The magic predicting dictionary

Students choose a word at random from a dictionary and make a prediction about their partner using the word there such as “One of your children will become a zookeeper” for “zoo” or “Your finances will temporarily improve” for “temporarily”, checking the word’s meaning there if they need to. For more challenge, they could also look for two or three words and have to combine them in one prediction.

The same activity can also be done with a worksheet or pack of cards with useful vocab (for that level, from past and future textbook units, related to their jobs, etc).

The investment predictions game

Give or dictate graphs showing imaginary prices of various commodities like wheat and copper. Ask groups of students to make predictions about future changes just from the shapes of the graphs, decide how much of their one million dollars to invest in which, then listen to some partial predictions like “Half of the prices will dive” before they make their final decisions. Dictate the changes in the market, ask them to forecast changes in the next period and buy and sell with that in mind, then go through the same steps again. Continue at least four times, then see who has made the most money (or lost the least).  

Future predictions things in common/ Future predictions discuss and agree

Students try to agree on and/ or find things in common related to the future of transport, their retirements, how their neighbourhoods will change, etc, preferably using key language you give them like “very likely”, “in the near future” and “CO2”.

Fortune telling bluff

Give students guides to different ways of telling someone’s future. For example, if you have groups of four students, you could give them one guide to palmistry, one to star signs, one about Chinese astrology, and one about using people’s names to predict their future. Show all the students a list of the different ways of telling their fortune. One student chooses a way that they don’t have a guide to, then nominates two students to tell their fortune that way. Those two examine their worksheets (even if they have nothing on that method) then tell that person’s fortune with that method. The person whose fortune was told then guesses who used the real guide (or that no one did).

Note that you could have students who consider some or all kinds of fortune telling to be taboo or even evil, so you need to consider whether this would definitely go down well or not. If not, the activity below is basically the same but without the occult connection.

Futurologists bluff

Give each student one or more recent future predictions from a different expert such as market analyst, technology futurologists or climate scientist, with a different topic for each. Ask them to silently read their predictions, make sure they understand them, then turn them over.

Show the students a list of the topics in all the predictions. Ask one student to choose one of the topics and to choose two or three students to give their predictions on that topic (without them looking at their paper, so it’s not obvious who is who). After hearing the predictions, they guess which of those people (if anyone) gave an expert prediction.

Classroom prediction games

Students can write down predictions of what their classmates will do and say (when given free rein for two minutes, or in response to what that student says), predict which trivia questions other people will get wrong, etc, then see if their predictions were correct.

Out of class prediction games

Students predict what will happen before the next class (to the world, to the other students, etc), then check what has come true as a review task at the beginning of the next lesson.

Optimism competitions

Students try to find topics (world trade, peace, how long they will live, etc) that they are more optimistic about than their partner.

Prediction chains

One student makes a prediction, then their partner predicts a consequence of that. The next person forecasts a result of that consequence, and they continue the same way around the group until they reach ten steps, often with a linked but crazy prediction like “You will beat the aliens”. They can then discuss which of those predictions they really think are true.

Written by Alex Case for Tefl.NET January 2023
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic and the Teaching...: Interactive Classroom Activities series of business and exam skills e-books for teachers
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