Predicting the Future

Overview: Moore’s Law states that computer processor speed doubles every 18 months. Compare that to progress in the early 1900′s and your students can see how things are moving zillions of miles per hour faster than in the past. With the new millennium upon us, what better time to predict the future?
Resources: Teacher: time line of inventions for the last 100 years. Student: pencil, paper.
Teacher Preparation: none.

Procedure:

1. Review time line of inventions for this century. Older students can research this on their own.
2. Brainstorm ideas of what breakthroughs or inventions may happen by the year 2000.
3. Students may be assigned specific areas to focus on, such as medicine, transportation or communication to research in order to better predict what the next five years holds. This could be as simple as third graders reading through their science book index, or as involved as high school seniors doing a research paper with numerous bibliography entries.

Variations/Options: As a resource, Wired Magazine highlights monthly a futuristic topic with predictions by experts for its implementation; research into predictions from 10 to 20 years ago on various topics to share with the class; make a time line of Internet-related events.

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