Bringing the bonfire to your classroom


Tomorrow will see a night of festivity throughout the United Kingdom as the country celebrates Guy Fawkes Day as on every 5th of November.  Talking about the festival can provide a great intro to talking about UK culture and acts of terrorism.  For a bit of context you can base a lesson for your higher lever students around this video which introduces students to the story behind that fateful night.  Have them first listen through and complete this rhyme.

____, _____ the 5th of November (Remember, remember)
____, treason and ____ (Gunpowder, plot)
I know of no ___ why gunpowder treason should ever be ___. (reason, forgot)

Then allow them to listen through a second and third time answering as many of the questions below as possible.

1. What year was the gunpowder plot planned? 1605
2. What did they aim to blow up? The House of Lords
3. Who led the plot?  Robert Catesby
4. Who was Guy Fawkes? The person responsible for putting the plan into action with a group of conspirators.
5. What did they hide in the cellar beneath the House of Lords?  36 barrels of gunpowder
6. What did Lord Monteagle receive?  An anonymous letter warning him to stay away
7. Where was Guy Fawkes found?  Leaving the cellar
8. What do people celebrate on November the 5th by lighting bonfires?  The king’s escape
9. What do people eat and drink on the 5th of November?  Mulled wine, toffee apples, baked potatoes
10. What else is popular?  Fireworks and sparklers

Looking at this early act of attempted terrorism can serve as a great jumping off point for a discussion about modern terrorism, a subject that most people have a strong opinion about.  For a great source of discussion questions to get your students talking visit the site esl discussions and let the debate fly.


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