When will then be now? Soon: A discussion about time travel by Inglés con Julie - Profesora de inglés en Majadahonda

When will then be now? Soon: A discussion about time travel




"Time travel might be possible, but if that's the case why haven't we been overrun by tourists from the future?" – Stephen Hawkings

When I was younger, I remember going on the Epcot and being so impressed with the Spaceship Earth ride (yes, the one inside the big golf ball). I remember being amazed by all the future technological advancements the ride promised: talking ovens, video chats with people thousands of miles away, and even robots that helped you clean! I wondered, “How does Disney know all this? He must have a time machine!” Ever since then, I have been fascinated with the idea of traveling through time.  

In class this week, we will be discussing time travel. Breaking News English offers some ideas to start the conversation:

1. TIME TRAVEL: Students walk around the class and talk to other students about time travel. Change partners often and share your findings.
2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, talk about these topics or words from the article. What will the article say about them? What can you say about these words and your life?
time / traveler / time travelers / cosmology / fans / funeral / ceremony / tourist / birth
concept / intrigued / decades / party / champagne / the future / deadline / possible
Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.
3. A GOOD THING: Students A strongly believe time travel would be a good thing; Students B strongly believe it wouldn't. Change partners again and talk about your conversations.
4. TIME: What would it be like to travel to these times? What would you do there? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners often and share what you wrote.


What would it be like?

What would you do there?

Dinosaur times



Iron Age



2018 years ago



The 1800s



The 1960s



The year 2099




Once we are warmed up, we can begin with some discussion questions. These are from PBS Learning:

  • How does popular media portray time travel in science fiction literature and movies? (Answers will vary…)
  • Why do you think time travel is such an appealing subject, based on its popularity in books and movies for many, many years? (Answers will vary…)
  • What are several specific difficulties that time travel presents? (Answers will vary…but the following are the general basis for most of the difficulties: traveling to the past would require new matter to be created – a new ‘you’ – one in the present traveling to the past and one already in the past being viewed by…you. According to the Laws of Nature, this is not possible. Traveling to the future would require manipulating and dealing with massive amounts of gravitational differences to warp the space-time continuum, perhaps only made possible by technology not invented as yet.)
  • If you travel to the past and alter an event that is happening or about to happen which involves you personally, how would that affect you in the present…and in the future? (Answers will vary…)
  • Would it be easier to time travel back through time or forward through time? Based on the Genius Episode Can We Time Travel?, which would be more feasible and why? (According to Stephen Hawking, backward time travel is most unlikely because new matter (a new you) would need to be created – one of you existing in the past and one in the present traveling back in time. New matter cannot be created. Time travel to the future could be possible if gravity is used to warp the space-time continuum.)

Here are a few more from Online Language Academy:

  • If time travel were possible, which period of world history would you like to return to? Why?
  • How far into the future would you like to travel? What do you hope to see?
  • Do you think there will be a common language in the future? Why? Which language will it be?
  • On your journey through time, you can take five objects with you to show people what life is like in the 21st century. What five objects would you take? Why?
  • Are you optimistic or pessimistic about your future? How about the world's future?
  • One day, our grandchildren will look back at what we did to the world. What parts of our history do you think they will admire?
  • What parts of our history will they look down on?
  • What major advancements would your grandparents never have imagined were possible when they were children?​
  • What major advancements do you think the human race will achieve this century?
  • What would you do if you had a telephone that could make phone calls into the past?
  • Which historical figure would you most like to meet? Why?
  • What would you ask them?
  • How would you spend the time with them?
  • If you went back to prehistoric times, what do you think you could teach humans of that time?
  • Have you seen any movies about travelling into the future? What happened? Were they believable?

Students interested in further exploring the topic of time travel can check out the following books and movies:


The Chronos Files by Rysa Walker,
Ancient Guardians by S.L. Morgan,
The Earth and Sky Trilogy by Megan Crewe,
The Transcend Time Saga by Michelle Madow,
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle,
Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving,
A Christmas Carol by Charlies Dickens,
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells,
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon,
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling,
11/22/63 by Stephen King,
Dr. Who series by Godon Flemyng

Movies and TV shows:

Films in the Star Trek Franchise, including:

- Star Trek (2009) by J.J. Abrams,
- Star Trek: Ismael (1985),
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Ho me
- Star Trek Generations
- Star Trek: First Contact


Dr. Who series (movie or tv series)
Planet of the Apes movie series,
Time Bandits
Twilight Zone: The Movie
Back to the Future movies
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Groundhog Day
The Kid
Quantum Leap

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