Predicting the Future
From FUTURESTATES collection, lesson plan 5 of 13
Audience: Grades 9–12
Duration: This lesson should take 1-2 day, depending on the class.
Purpose of the Lesson: The films that make up the FUTURESTATES series explore possible future scenarios through the lens of today’s global realities. They are not, in a literal sense, science-fiction films, but they do make predictions based upon how they interpret the present. Use this lesson to help students think about how and why humans like to predict the future.
Curricula Writer: John Golden is currently a curriculum specialist for high school Language Arts in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of Reading in the Dark: Using Film as a Tool in the English Classroom (NCTE, 2001) and Reading in the Reel World: Teaching Documentaries and Other Nonfiction Texts (NCTE, 2006). John has delivered presentations and led workshops around the country in order to help teachers use film actively in the classroom as a way for students to improve their reading, analytical and critical thinking skills.
Section 1. Put the word “prediction” on the board and ask students to freewrite about the word: what does it mean, when do you do it, why do you do it? As an extension, you could show students the trailer for one of the films from the FUTURESTATES series and ask students to make a prediction about the film’s probable themes and plot.
Section 2. Direct students to look over the Famously Wrong Predictions sheet. Ask them to choose two or three incorrect predictions and explain how they know the predictions were wrong. This might be best done in pairs or small groups. Be sure to ask students to consider the evidence that makes the predictions wrong.
Section 3. Ask students to complete the Literary Predictions survey. (All of the examples except for the Harry Potter example are true.) At this point, take a couple of minutes to show students the short clip at the top of the FUTURESTATES homepage, which acts as an introduction to the film series and includes a series of rhetorical questions. Ask students to consider each rhetorical question presented in the film clip.
Section 4. Next, ask students to make some of their own predictions, starting with personal ones and moving to political and world predictions, using the Your Predictions sheet. Then, working with a partner, students should evaluate one or more of each other’s world predictions using the Predict-O-Meter sheet. The predictions that seem most likely to come true should be shared with the rest of the class. The class can discuss the evidence that makes the prediction seem likely to come true.
Section 5. As a wrap up, ask students to return to their original freewrite on the word “prediction” to see what else they can add after considering the various topics explored in this lesson.