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What Next?

Lesson Planning ChannelEducation World presents "What Next?" the final chapter in our yearlong Millennium Series.

Throughout the past year, the Education World Millennium Series has introduced you to the individuals and events that shaped our past. This month, as the year 2001 approaches, we bring you lessons about the problems and possibilities that will help shape our future. Included: Ten lessons to help students prepare for their future in the 21st century!

According to philosopher George Santayana (1863-1952), "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." During the past 12 months, Education World has brought you the Millennium Series, lessons and activities designed to help your students remember -- and learn from -- the past. This week, we bring you instead a look at the future -- lessons designed to help your students anticipate and prepare for the history they will make.

A brief description of each activity appears below. Click any headline for a complete teaching resource!

Show and Tell
Do you have a favorite lesson about the future -- or a personal view of education in the future that you'd like to share? Visit the Education World message board to share your ideas!
  • My Future Life
    Students explore various ways of predicting the future, then write their autobiographies from the perspective of 2050. (Grades 9-12)

  • Designer Cities of the Future
    Students explore factors that will influence the future needs of their city, then create maps of an environmentally sound city of the future. (Grades 6-8, 9-12)

  • The Future of the Florida Panther
    Students analyze environmental factors to predict the future of the Florida panther. (Grades 6-8, 9-12)

  • Space Tourism Brochure
    Students create travel brochures to sell the concept of space travel to tourists. (Grades 6-8, 9-12)

  • When I Grow Up
    Students explore their interests and abilities and learn about careers they might pursue. (Grades 9-12)

  • The Future of Technology
    Students explore historical predictions about technology, then design and describe a technology product they think will be available in 2025. (Grades 6-8, 9-12)

  • Debate the End of the Universe
    Students explore two theories about what will cause the end of the universe and stage a debate about which theory may be correct. (Grades 9-12)

  • Probability with M&Ms
    Students explore probability by predicting the probability of the occurrence of each color in a sample of M&Ms. (Grades 3-5, 6-8)

  • The Future's in the Genes
    Students conduct an interactive pea experiment to study the concept of genetics. (Grades 3-5)

  • Schools of the Future
    Students learn how technology might change education in the future and design a school environment that would best accommodate those changes. (Grades 9-12)


  • Exploring the Future Byron Center Christian School in Byron Center, Michigan, provides resources to help students explore the future.

  • 'Nanobots' May Be the Future of Medicine This USA Today online article explores the role of nanobots in the future of medicine.

  • The Future of Medicine This ThinkQuest site invites visitors to explore the future of medicine.

  • Exploring The Future Of Our Planet ... Through Science And Fantasy In this joint project, students at Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles, California, and students at West Torrance High School in Torrance, California, collaborated to write and edit science fiction stories.

  • Classroom of the Future "COTF develops and conducts research on technology-based learning materials that challenge students to solve problems by using datasets and other information resources provided by the four strategic enterprises of NASA: Aero-Space Technology, Human Exploration and Development of Space, Earth Science Enterprise, and Space Science."

  • Paleomap Project At this site, visitors can project what Earth will look like geographically 100 years, 250 years, and 50 million years from now if present-day plate movement continues.

  • Moore Research Center Visitors to this site can compare the current S & P Composite Index to a historical market.

  • Can History Predict the Future? This article discusses the effects of early education and mentorship on the development of scientists and explores the need to examine the past in order to increase the number of black scientists in the future.

  • Movers and Shakers CNET profiles the most interesting and influential people shaping the digital world.

    Linda Starr
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2000 Education World

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