The World’s Fair: Visions of the Future

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 12150

In your brief life, what changes have you seen, especially in technology? Ask your parents what they remember about computers, record players, and cars! Visit the past to see what the future would be!



learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


What will be the most cutting-edge technology in ten years’ time? In fifty years? In one hundred years? Are you willing to share your predictions for all the world to see?

Throughout the centuries, people have wondered what the world would look like in the future.

  • Have you heard of World's Fairs, International Expositions, or World Expos?
  • What are they, and how do they relate to the world of the future?

In the 1800s, some European countries began having exhibitions to show off their country's achievements in science, industry, technology, and agriculture. The idea was to share their inventions and their visions of the future. This idea caught on and spread. Today, the fairs and expos are not only for one particular country, but represent many countries gathered together, sharing ideas.

There's often a theme for such a gathering, such as:

  • Modern Life
  • Transportation
  • Building the World of Tomorrow

It's the idea of Building the World of Tomorrow that we're focusing on in this lesson.

  • How could anyone know what the World of Tomorrow would look like?

Our ancestors tried all manner of ways to know what would happen in the days and years to come, sometimes by some form of sorcery or science. The famous Nostradamus remains popular among many today for his sixteenth-century poems that supposedly gave information about the very times in which we live.

Futurology, the art of predicting the future, has become a much more scientific affair, but still suffers from mixed results.

  • Who tries to predict the future these days, what tools do they use to determine the way things will go in the years to come, and how accurate have their predictions been?

Learn more about futurology by reading a brief article. As you read Futurology: The tricky art of knowing what will happen next, by Finlo Rohrer, BBC News Magazine, write down the information and ideas that answer the following questions:

  • When did the modern art of futurology begin?
  • What have been some of the accurate predictions of futurologists?
  • What have been some of the less-accurate predictions?

Share the information you uncovered with your parent or teacher, then discuss the following questions together:

  • Why are people so fascinated with trying to predict the future?
  • Why do you think so many predictions about the future are inaccurate?
  • What could be done to make predicting the future a more reliable science?

In the Got It? section, you'll take a look at some of the exhibits of the World's Fairs of the twentieth century and the future predictions they represented.

Elephango's Philosophy

We help prepare learners for a future that cannot yet be defined. They must be ready for change, willing to learn and able to think critically. Elephango is designed to create lifelong learners who are ready for that rapidly changing future.