Ideas on Teaching Children about Bonfire Night
November 5th presents a golden opportunity for teaching your class the story of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 in an engaging way. Rockets, fireworks and bonfires captivate children and they will already have heard of Guy Fawkes so making an informative but fun lesson about the history of the day is too good a chance to miss.
Tradewind Recruitment would like to offer some lesson ideas and activities to our hardworking teachers that will help in teaching the subject and bring it to life:
- As a starting point, we would recommend using a class discussion or presentation to find out how much the children know about Guy Fawkes and the conspiracy to kill King James 1 and blow up the Houses of Parliament.
- After that, you could ask your class to find out the names of the 13 conspirators in the Plot. You could then ask them to research how they were connected. Many of them were related.
- Ask them to dress up as the main characters in the story and re-enact the main incidents and events.Next, you could hand out printed copies of the Mounteagle letter warning him not to go to the Houses of Parliament on the 5th. Ask them if they can read the writing and who do they think wrote the letter. How can they tell the letter is old and can they spot any differences between a letter now and a letter written in 1605.
- Following on from that why not ask the children to research and write questions for a Mastermind specialist subject based around the life and times of Guy Fawkes. If possible arrange for the Mastermind theme music, a spotlight and a big black chair to be available to add realism to the quiz. Ask the questions in the way that John Humphrys would.
- Source some straw and old clothes and ask the children to make a “Guy”effigy and then ask them to vote for the winner.
As a final point, tell the children that fireworks can be dangerous and remind them how important firework safety is. Let them know that:
- Children should always be supervised around fireworks.
- Fireworks should be stored safely (usually in a tin with a lid).
- Follow the guidance set out in the firework codeNever return to a firework which has failed to go off – it may go off unexpectedly.
- Never pour petrol or other flammable materials over a bonfire.
- Make sure spectators maintain a safe distance.
- Ensure the bonfire is safely constructed away from buildings, fences and other materials which could catch alight if the fire spreads.
- Remember it can take several hours for a bonfire to fully extinguish.
- Make sure pets are kept indoors as animals will not like the loud noises that fireworks make.
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