Factfulness about the Future (Upper-Intermediate Lesson)

ESL/EFL Level: Upper-Intermediate (closer to C1 than B2)
Lesson Topic: Reasons for optimism and pessimism about the future presented through a summary of the book Factfulness 
Skill Focus
: Speaking, Listening, Vocabulary
Approximate Class Time: 2 hours
Lesson Plan Download: factfulness-the-future-upper-intermediate-012023.docx
Lesson Overview:

  • After a short warm-up, students try to answer questions about global statistics (e.g. hunger rates, population growth) to determine if they are optimistic or pessimistic about the future.
  • Next, a reading passage introduces the 2018 book Factfulness by Hans Rosling and explains three of the erroneous instincts that cause people to have a negative view of the world. The passage is followed by comprehension questions and vocabulary questions.
  • Afterward, students debate whether the world will be better or worse, teach each other biases, and then discuss famous quotations. Extension activities are listed as well.
  • All lessons come with warm-up questions and discussion questions.

The front and back cover of Factfulness, the book

UPPER-INTERMEDIATE Lesson Plan on Factfulness about the Future

Warm-up Questions (Pair-work)

  1. Would your friends say that you are an optimistic (positive) or pessimistic (negative) person?
  2. Is the world better or worse today than it was when your parents were your age?

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-- Lesson plan on Factfulness about the Future by Matthew Barton of EnglishCurrent.com (copyright). Site members may photocopy and edit the file for their classes. Permission is not given to rebrand the lesson, redistribute it on another platform, or sell it as part of commercial course curriculum. For questions, contact the author.

Comprehension Question Answers

  1. … / The statistics show that most people are in fact in the gap between developed and developing; few people in fact live in the conditions of a ‘developing’ nation.
  2. He is trying to show that, for media outlets, positive news is not considered news.
  3. It shows that the rate of population growth has decreased. Between 1900-2000, it grew almost four times. However, the UN projects only a 1.8 times growth this decade.
  4. He wants to argue that growth is possible without democracy.
  5. He recommends reading multiple news sources and traveling to broaden your horizons.

Statistics answers: 1) 7.9 billion / 10.9 billion, 2) 73 years, 3) 56%, 4) decreased / 27%, 5) 2.4, 6) 1.2c, 7) decreased to 8.44%, 8) 10 billion years

Vocabulary answers: 1-h, 2-b, 3-f, 4-a, 5-j, 6-k, 7-i, 8-g, 9-d, 10-c, 11-e


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