Modal Verbs for Predicting & Speculating about our Future in Space
Last century there was a space race between two global superpowers, the USSR and the USA, culminating in the first moon landing in 1969. Now the race is on again, but this time between multi-billionaire business tycoons who see space tourism and colonialisation as the next big profit-making enterprise. Oh, and apparently the answer to all our problems down here on planet Earth.
This super-powered package of Intermediate+ lessons will launch English learners and teachers alike into a spectacular orbit of technological discovery and mind-bending visions of the future. Learners can practice predicting and speculating using future forms will and going to and modal verbs. There are two video lessons looking at the ambitious space projects of the likes of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos including space tourism, the colonialisation of Mars and building giant space stations for human habitation.
Grammar: Predicting & Speculating
The grammar focus is on predicting and speculating using future forms will and going to and modal verbs could, might and may with adverbs of degree. There is a summary document which outlines the forms we use for predicting and speculating plus the use of adverbs of degree to express different levels of certainty and for either written or speaking practice some exercises using these forms.
Video Lesson & Speaking: Space Tourism & Colonialisation
Upper Intermediate/Advanced level
This lesson is based on a 7 minute YouTube video which looks at the new commercial space race. There is quite a lot of information including technical language and the narrator speaks quite fast, so the aim here is to listen out for the main information asked for in the comprehension questions. It will probably need more than one viewing so it could work best to give the comprehension part of the lesson as a homework exercise so students can take as much time as they need to watch it. Then class time can be used for the discussions where students have the opportunity to practice the language of prediction and speculation from the grammar summary. There is an answers sheet for the comprehension questions.
Video Lesson & Speaking: Space Station
Upper Intermediate level
In this lesson, the video is more of an introduction and the main focus is the speaking activity where the students work in pairs or groups to come up with ideas for how they would create and manage a space station. They should be encouraged to think “outside the box” in imagining a new way of life for humans in space. It doesn’t have to be taken too seriously as long as they have interesting ideas that they can back up with their reasons when they present them to each other at the end.
It can also work as a one to one lesson, but it would be a good idea to give the student plenty of time to think about the task before so it could work best to allow them to come up with their ideas for homework then present them in the following lesson.
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