How to Predict the Future: A Tom Friedman Lesson Plan

How to Predict the Future: A Tom Friedman Lesson Plan

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Today, we’re presenting the second in our new Lesson Plan Series based on Fresh Dialogues interviews. The series is compiled by Lisa Lubliner, our new Fresh Dialogues Education Expert.



Lesson Plan: How to Predict the Future

In 2010, New York Times columnist, Tom Friedman, made some bold predictions in a Fresh Dialogues interview. He predicted that the demand for Clean Energy (solar, wind, biofuels) was going to explode and that if the US government doesn’t invest sufficiently in Clean Energy research, China is going to dominate the Energy Technology industry.

What do you suppose our standard of living will be like if we don’t dominate the ET industry?” he said. “If the next great solar company is Chinese? If the next great wind companies are Danish? If the next great battery companies are all Japanese?” Read the transcript here.

News analysts, politicians, historians, and scientists all use current information to predict the future and make decisions for acting.  Using historical documents, this lesson encourages students to consider:  Why do we make predictions about the future? Do predictions help us? If so, how? On what do we base the predictions that we make?

What did historical figures imagine our lives would look like today? How can we make informed predictions about the future? In this lesson, students consider and discuss predictions about life in 2011 that were written in 1931 by prominent thinkers of the day, and then draw on New York Times articles to develop their own predictions about the future.

This lesson is ideal for Grades 9-12 and is correlated to McREL’s national standards (it can also be aligned to the new Common Core State Standards)

More at New York Times Education Blog

Check out the WONDERFUL files that contain historical documents and other extension activities for teachers to download.

Looking for more Fresh Dialogues based lesson plans?

Check out Carbon Tax and Carbon Capture – Paul Krugman

And our Education Tab

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