Guy Fawkes and the Bonfire night story English Lesson Plan

English Lesson Plan History, Intermediate B1/B2, Video

This lesson plan will help your students understand the story of Bonfire Night. Teaching English History especially the events that are closely rooted within current celebrations is always fun. So here’s the ESL lesson plan where your students not only improve the reading, speaking and listening skills but also learn more about English history.

On November 5th people in Britain celebrate ‘Bonfire Night’.  There are firework displays and bonfires with models of Guy Fawkes, which are burned on the fire. This video from The British Council’s Learn English site explores the origins of the festival and looks at how it’s celebrated now.

Topic: Guy Fawkes and Bonfire night London
Activity: reading, speaking, listening, writing
Level: Intermediate B1
Learner: teenagers, adults
Accent: Variety of British English
Time: 50-60 minutes
Materials: video + worksheet

Show students the picture and ask what the photos represent and if they are connected with each other in any way.

Later explain that you have more information about photos here- see worksheet- running dictation. Distribute parts of the paragraph on the walls (use blue-tack). Divide students into pairs, one person is a runner the other a writer. The runner runs and reads the paragraph and later tells it to the writer, whose task is to write what s/he heard. Students swap roles after 4 minutes. Once they have all the parts their task is to put these in the correct order. The team that first finishes the task correctly wins.

When all the students have the correct order of the sentence refer back to the picture and ask what each picture represents.

On the board write the following questions:

Why did Guy Fawkes want to kill King James 1st and the king’s leaders?

What was the plot/plan?

How was Guy Fawkes discovered?

What happened to Guy Fawkes in the end?

Why and how do people celebrate the event?

Ask students to work in pair and talk about possible answers/ predictions.

Elicit the possible answers.

Distribute Ex.1- see worksheet. Students are going to read the story and match the questions with paragraphs. Exercise 1 Answers: 1C, 2D, 3A, 4E, 5B. Exercise 2 Answers: 1E, 2A, 3B, 4C, 5G, 6D, 7F


Tell your students that they are going to watch a video about the Bonfire Night celebrations in the UK. Their task is to listen and put the numbers in order as they hear them- Ex.3a. Later learners watch the video again and write what the numbers refer to. Answers for Ex 3a and b :

  • 5th November- the date of the Bonfire Night

  • 20,000- number of people that come to the event in Winchester

  • 6pm- the time the procession/ celebration kicks off

  • 7:15pm- the time the bonfire is lit

  • 7:45pm- the time the fireworks will go of and the crowd will cheer

  • 180- number of volunteers helping to organise the event

  • hundreds- number of people helping out

  • 400 years ago- the time when Guy Fawkes planned to kill King James

  • 4,000- number of fireworks let off on the night 

At the end of the lesson you could ask your students to discuss the following:

Is Bonfire night a waste of money or it’s a great way to bring the history to live?

Divide students into groups A and B, Students A think is a waste of money, students B think the opposite. They have to find the reasons supporting their opinion and later discuss with student B.


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English Lesson PlanGuy Fawkes and the Bonfire night story English Lesson Plan