Unit 7. How Much Do We Know About Britain?

You already know a lot about Britain and its people, but some things are easily forgotten. Let us brush up our knowledge of the country. So...

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1. Look at the map and say: a) what the main parts of Great Britain are; b) what their capitals are; c) what their symbols are.

2. Choose the right item.

1. The Union Jack is ...

    a) the flag of the UK
    b) the flag of Scotland
    c) the flag of Wales
    d) the flag of England

2. The British Prime Minister lives at ...

    a) 12 Whitehall
    b) 10 Downing Street
    c) 7 Russel Street
    d) 15 Oxford Street

3. Whitehall is ...

    a) a street leading from Trafalgar Square to the Houses of Parliament;
    b) a big hall in the centre of London;
    c) a white palace near Trafalgar Square;
    d) the palace where the Queen lives in summer.

4. The Great Fire of London broke out in ...

    a) 1066
    b) 1766
    c) 1106
    d) 1666

5. Sir Christopher Wren built ...

    a) Buckingham Palace
    b) Westminster Abbey
    c) St. Pauls Cathedral
    d) the Tower of London

6. The National Gallery is in ...

    a) Piccadilly Circus
    b) Parliament Square
    c) Trafalgar Square
    d) Leicester [lests] Square

7. Westminster is the ... centre of London.

    a) cultural
    b) political
    c) business
    d) industrial

8. Great Britain is separated from the continent by ...

    a) the Pacific Ocean b) the Irish Sea c) the Bristol Channel d) the English Channel

9. Britains population is more than ... million people,

    a) 56
    b) 5,6
    c) 560
    d) 7

10. There is much farmland in Britain, especially in the ... of the country.

    a) north
    b) south
    c) west
    d) east

11. The head of State in Britain is ...

    a) the Prime Minister
    b) the President
    c) the Queen
    d) the Speaker

12. 650 Members of the House of Commons are elected every ... years.

    a) 2
    b) 3
    c) 4
    d) 5

3. Answer the following questions, if necessary consult Lessons 2430 of your Textbook IV and Lessons 5, 1214 of your Textbook V.

  1. When did the Romans come to England for the first time?
  2. What was the original name of the British capital? And how many people lived there by the year 400?
  3. When did the Romans leave Britain?
  4. When did William the Conqueror come to England from Normandy? Why did he build the White Tower in the Tower of London?
  5. Where did the Great Fire of London start? How long did it last? How big was the part of the city destroyed by the fire?
  6. What caused the Great Fire of London?
  7. What is the official name of Great Britain now?
  8. What do people mean when they say Great Britain?
  9. What parts does Great Britain consist of and what are their capitals?
  10. What do we call the narrowest part of the English Channel?
  11. The people who were born in Britain are English, arent they?
  12. What does the Union Jack look like and what does it symbolize?
  13. What is understood by the Commonwealth? What do you know about it?
  14. Who does the power in the country belong to?
  15. Who makes laws in the country?

4. After doing ex. 1 and ex. 2. decide who in your class knows the country and its people best. Let him/her be a visiting professor from London and ask him/her:

  1. what part of London he likes most of all and why;
  2. what the Tower of London used to be and what it is now;
  3. why Londoners keep black ravens in the Tower of London;
  4. what place in London is believed to be its geographical centre;
  5. where the Queen lives;
  6. why the clock on one of the towers of the Houses of Parliament is called Big Ben;
  7. how often people can hear the sound of Big Ben;
  8. if tourists can get into the Houses of Parliament and watch the sessions of Parliament;
  9. what the difference between the House of Lords and the House of Commons is;
  10. what Poets Corner is and in what London church it can be found;
  11. why British people speak so much about the weather;
  12. in what way the British people differ from people on the Continent.

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5. Read to get more information about British festivals.1

Traditional games on Halloween Night are usually difficult, such as trying to get an apple from a bucket2 of water without using hands or trying to find a coin in a bowl3 full of flour.

On New Years Eve, people used to take a soaking4 in the fountains in Trafalgar Square.

The Christmas tree which is put in Trafalgar Square for Christmas is always a present from Norway.

On Christmas day the Queen gives her traditional Christmas speech to the UK and the Commonwealth on television and radio.

At Easter time, the British often give their children chocolate Easter eggs, which are opened and eaten on Easter Sunday.

1 a festival
2 a bucket
3 a bowl
4 to take a soaking

6. A Russian girl, Olga, comes to Britain on the 30th of October. She is going to stay with an English family. Alice, the eldest daughter, is going to take Olga to a Halloween party. Read their dialogue and say why Olga is so surprised.


Olga: Alice, it can be a stupid question, but Im afraid I dont know much about Halloween. What is it like?

Alice: Im sure youll enjoy it. Such parties are usually great fun. People dress up in strange costumes and pretend theyre ghosts and witches.

Olga: Oh... are you sure Im going to like it? It sounds very unusual.

Alice: Dont be silly, well play games and dance and laugh a lot. And you know what, when the party is over, well put on white sheets and knock on our neighbours doors asking if they would like a trick or treat.

Olga: Trick or treat? What dyou mean?

Alice (laughing): Nothing dangerous. If they give us a treat some sweets, nuts or cakes well say thank you and go away. But if they dont well play a trick on them.

Olga: What? A trick? What shall we do?

Alice: Well make a lot of noise and throw flour on their front doorstep!

Olga: Wow!1

Alice: But can you help me to get ready for the party?

Olga: Of course I will. What shall I do?

Alice: Well cut an ugly face in a pumpkin and put a candle inside. It will shine through the eye holes. Then well take the pumpkin to the party to decorate the hall.

Olga: How interesting! Ive never heard about this holiday before. We dont have it in Russia.

Alice: You just wait! On the 5th of November Ill take you to see a Guy Fawkes Night.

1Wow! ! ( / )

7. Imagine that that very night Olga wrote a letter to her family where she told them what she had learned about Halloween. Name 10 things she had learned about that holiday. Begin with: "Alice told me....

Example: Alice told me she was going to take me to a Halloween party.

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8. Work in pairs. Make up two dialogues: a) about Guy Fawkes Night, b) about Maslenitsa in Russia. One of you is a Russian student, the other comes from Britain.

9. You are going to have a quiz on the topic Britain. Then and Now. Get ready to give the most important information on these:

  1. the geographical position of the UK;
  2. the political system in the UK (the Queen and Parliament);
  3. the Romans in Britain;
  4. the Great Fire of London;
  5. London, the capital and the heart of Great Britain;
  6. Londons places of interest;
  7. British traditions and holidays.

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10. Do ex. 3, ex. 6 in writing.

11. Write a paragraph on one of the topics from ex. 9.