I know this probably sounds like a strange “The Best…” list. However, it fits into my perspective of teaching English — find a high-interest topic that students want to learn about, and then they need (and want) to develop the language skills to learn about it.
And, I have to say, it’s hard to find a topic of higher interest than having students try to discover how long they are going to live.
These calculators aren’t precise, obviously. In fact, it would be good for a teacher to review an excellent article in the Wall Street Journal about some of the problems with them. However, there are also a number of benefits, including challenging students to reflect on some of their lifestyle choices.
These are the life expectancy calculators that I think are most accessible to English Language Learners, though they vary in degrees of difficulty. All can be taken without registration, except for the last one:
The website Blue Zones has a short survey called “Vitality Compass” which, once completed, gives you an indication of how long you’ll live (and, interestingly enough, what portion of that time you can expect to be healthy). You have to register for the site, but doing so is quick.
You might also be interested in Living Longer in America, an interactive from MSNBC which shows you how long you are likely to live — depending on which area of the country you call home. In addition, it has a timeline where you can learn how life expectancy has increased over the years and for what reasons.