www.Breaking News English.com
ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on Bill Gates

Home | About | Privacy Policy | Copyright | Links | Podcast | Donate

Bill Gates knighted by British Queen


Date: March 3, 2005
Level: Intermediate +
Downloads: This Lesson (Word Doc) | Class Handout (Word Doc) | Class Handout (PDF)

THE ARTICLE

Bill Gates, Microsoft founder, Chairman and Chief Software Architect, was given an honorary knighthood by the British Queen earlier at Buckingham Palace. The reasons for his honour, given by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, are to recognize his “contributions to improving health and reducing poverty in parts of the Commonwealth and elsewhere in the developing world”, and for his “contribution to enterprise, employment, education and the voluntary sector in the United Kingdom”. William H. Gates III can now put the initials KBE after his name, meaning he is now a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Mr. Gates said of his award, “It's a great honour to have the association with this country and receive an award like this.” On meeting the British Queen, he naturally talked about computers - “She said all the kids do [use computers] and they are very useful ... but typing is not as natural for her as it is for young people.”

As he is not a British or Commonwealth citizen, he cannot call himself 'Sir Bill'. Honorary knighthoods are given to non-British or Commonwealth people who have made significant contributions to relations with the UK. Past recipients of the honorary knighthood include Bob Geldof, Hamid Karzai, Placido Domingo, Chancellor Kohl, President Mitterrand, Rudolph Giuliani, Ronald Reagan, George Bush (senior), Alan Greenspan, Bob Hope, Steven Spielberg, Jean Paul Getty Jr., Yehudi Menuhin, and Pelé. It used to be that only senior soldiers, judges and high-ranking government officials got knighted, but recently British rock, acting and sports legends have become honoured, including Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Michael Caine and Sir Bobby Charlton.

For more information on the very complicated British honours system, visit http://www.answers.com/topic/british-honours-system

NOTE: A knighthood is for a man. A damehood is for a woman. Last month Ellen MacArthur, the fastest person to sail single-handedly around the world non-stop, became Dame Ellen MacArthur.

POSSIBLE WARM UPS / COOL DOWNS

1. CHAT:  Talk in pairs or groups about Bill Gates / Microsoft / Queen Elizabeth II / Buckingham Palace / Commonwealth and Being a ‘Sir’ / titles …

To make things more dynamic, try telling your students they only have one minute (or 2) on each chat topic before changing topics / partners. Change topic / partner frequently to energize the class.

2. BILL BRAINSTORM: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with Bill Gates. Share your words with your partner / group and talk about them.

3. ACHIEVEMENT: Bill Gates got his knighthood for his achievements. Talk about each of these with your partner / group. Which are ‘truly great’ achievements:

  1. Being the richest man in the world.
  2. Setting up Microsoft.
  3. Promising $5 billion to charities for global health and learning.
  4. Realizing a 1975 dream that a computer would be in every home.
  5. Staying married for 11 years.
  6. Windows Operating System
  7. Staying ‘Mr. Nice Guy’
  8. Changing the world

4. OTHER KNIGHTS: What do you know about the other recipients of the British honorary knighthood. In pairs/groups, discuss how ‘truly great’ they are:

  1. Bob Geldof
  2. Hamid Karzai
  3. Placido Domingo
  4. Chancellor Kohl
  5. President Mitterrand
  6. Rudolph Giuliani
  7. Ronald Reagan
  8. George Bush (senior)
  9. Alan Greenspan
  10. Bob Hope
  11. Steven Spielberg
  12. Jean Paul Getty Jr.
  13. Yehudi Menuhin
  14. Pelé

 
 

PRE-READING IDEAS

1. WORD SEARCH: Students look in their dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … of the words ‘foreign’ and ‘office’.

2. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the headline and guess whether these sentences are true or false:

  1. Bill Gates is founder of Microsoft.  T / F
  2. He received his award at Buckingham Palace.  T / F
  3. He was knighted for selling millions of computers.  T / F
  4. His business card can now read ‘William H. Gates III, KBE’.  T / F
  5. Bill Gates and the British Queen didn’t talk computers.  T / F
  6. Bill can now call himself ‘Sir Bill’.  T / F
  7. Non-British or Commonwealth people cannot become ‘Sir’.  T / F
  8. Only senior British soldiers, judges and high-ranking government officials can become ‘Sir’.  T / F

3. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

(a)

founder

donations

(b)

honour

letters

(c)

contributions

icons

(d)

poverty

major

(e)

enterprise

top-notch

(f)

initials

architect

(g)

significant

award

(h)

recipients

destitution

(i)

high-ranking

beneficiaries

(j)

legends

business

4. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases based on the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

(a)

The reasons

himself 'Sir Bill'

(b)

to recognize

honour

(c)

reducing

sector

(d)

elsewhere in the developing

government officials

(e)

voluntary

contributions

(f)

It's a great

his contributions to improving health

(g)

he cannot call

world

(h)

significant

for his honour

(i)

It used to

poverty

(j)

high-ranking

be that only ….

 

WHILE READING ACTIVITIES

1. GAP-FILL:  Put the missing words under each paragraph into the gaps.

Bill Gates knighted by British Queen

Bill Gates, Microsoft __________, Chairman and Chief Software Architect, was given an honorary knighthood by the British Queen earlier at Buckingham Palace. The reasons for his honour, given by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, are to __________ his “contributions to improving health and reducing poverty in parts of the Commonwealth and elsewhere in the developing world”, and for his “__________ to enterprise, employment, education and the voluntary sector in the United Kingdom”. William H. Gates III can now put the initials KBE after his name, __________ he is now a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Mr. Gates said of his award, “It's a great honour to have the association with this country and receive an award like this.” On meeting the British Queen, he __________ talked about computers - “She said all the kids do [use computers] and they are very useful ... but typing is not as natural for her as it is for young people.”

 

 

meaning
founder
contribution
naturally
recognize

As he is not a British or Commonwealth __________, he cannot call himself 'Sir Bill'. Honorary knighthoods are given to non-British or Commonwealth people who have made __________ contributions to relations with the UK. Past __________ of the honorary knighthood include Bob Geldof, Hamid Karzai, Placido Domingo, Chancellor Kohl, President Mitterrand, Rudolph Giuliani, Ronald Reagan, George Bush (senior), Alan Greenspan, Bob Hope, Steven Spielberg, Jean Paul Getty Jr., Yehudi Menuhin, and Pelé. It used to be that only __________ soldiers, judges and high-ranking government officials got knighted, but recently British rock, acting and sports legends have become __________, including Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Michael Caine and Sir Bobby Charlton.

 

senior 
significant
honoured 
citizen
recipients

2. TRUE/FALSE:  Students check their answers to the T/F exercise.

3. SYNONYMS:  Students check their answers to the synonyms exercise.

4. PHRASE MATCH:  Students check their answers to the phrase match exercise.

5. QUESTIONS: Students make notes for questions they would like to ask the class about the article.

6. VOCABULARY:  Students circle any words they do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find the meanings.


 
 

POST READING IDEAS

1. GAP-FILL: Check the answers to the gap-fill exercise.

2. QUESTIONS:  Students ask the discussion questions they thought of above to their partner / group / class. Pool the questions for all students to share.

3. VOCABULARY: As a class, go over the vocabulary students circled above.

4. STUDENT-GENERATED SURVEY: Pairs/Groups write down 3 questions based on the article. Conduct their surveys alone. Report back to partners to compare answers. Report to other groups / the whole class.

5. ‘FOREIGN’/ ‘OFFICE’: Students make questions based on their findings from pre-reading activity #1.

6. DISCUSSION:  Students ask each other the following questions:

  1. What do you think of this article?
  2. What do you think of Bill Gates?
  3. What do you think of Microsoft?
  4. What do you think of the British system of titles (Sir, Lord, Duke, Prince, Lady, Dame…)?
  5. What do you think of British history?
  6. Would you like to go to Buckingham Palace and meet the British Queen?
  7. What honours can people receive in your country?
  8. Is Bill Gates a great man?
  9. Are you good with computers?
  10. If you were as rich as Bill (around $48 billion) who would you give you money to – which charities or causes?
  11. What are your contributions to society / community / school / workplace / family?
  12. Do you like to talk computers (talk about computers)?
  13. What do you think of the past recipients of an honorary British knighthood?
  14. Who is the greatest living person in your country?
  15. Teacher / Student additional questions.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCAB EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on the British honours system. Share your findings with your class next lesson.

3. LETTER: Write a letter to Bill Gates telling him your thoughts on Microsoft, Windows, charity work etc.

4. NEXT KNIGHT: Write an article about which world person should be next to receive an honorary knighthood from the British Queen, stating your reasons why they deserve this.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

  1. Bill Gates is founder of Microsoft.  T
  2. He received his award at Buckingham Palace.  T
  3. He was knighted for selling millions of computers.  F
  4. His business card can now read ‘William H. Gates III, KBE’.  T
  5. Bill Gates and the British Queen didn’t talk computers.  F
  6. Bill can now call himself ‘Sir Bill’.  F
  7. Non-British or Commonwealth people cannot become ‘Sir’.  T
  8. Only senior British soldiers, judges and high-ranking government officials can become ‘Sir’.  F

SYNONYM MATCH:

(a)

founder

architect

(b)

honour

award

(c)

contributions

donations

(d)

poverty

destitution

(e)

enterprise

business

(f)

initials

letters

(g)

significant

major

(h)

recipients

beneficiaries

(i)

high-ranking

top-notch

(j)

legends

icons

PHRASE MATCH:

(a)

The reasons

for his honour

(b)

to recognize

his contributions to improving health

(c)

reducing

poverty

(d)

elsewhere in the developing

world

(e)

voluntary

sector

(f)

It's a great

honour

(g)

he cannot call

himself 'Sir Bill'

(h)

significant

contributions

(i)

It used to

be that only ….

(j)

high-ranking

government officials

 

FULL TEXT

Bill Gates knighted by British Queen

Bill Gates, Microsoft founder, Chairman and Chief Software Architect, was given an honorary knighthood by the British Queen earlier at Buckingham Palace. The reasons for his honour, given by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, are to recognize his “contributions to improving health and reducing poverty in parts of the Commonwealth and elsewhere in the developing world”, and for his “contribution to enterprise, employment, education and the voluntary sector in the United Kingdom”. William H. Gates III can now put the initials KBE after his name, meaning he is now a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Mr. Gates said of his award, “It's a great honour to have the association with this country and receive an award like this.” On meeting the British Queen, he naturally talked about computers - “She said all the kids do [use computers] and they are very useful ... but typing is not as natural for her as it is for young people.”

As he is not a British or Commonwealth citizen, he cannot call himself 'Sir Bill'. Honorary knighthoods are given to non-British or Commonwealth people who have made significant contributions to relations with the UK. Past recipients of the honorary knighthood include Bob Geldof, Hamid Karzai, Placido Domingo, Chancellor Kohl, President Mitterrand, Rudolph Giuliani, Ronald Reagan, George Bush (senior), Alan Greenspan, Bob Hope, Steven Spielberg, Jean Paul Getty Jr., Yehudi Menuhin, and Pelé. It used to be that only senior soldiers, judges and high-ranking government officials got knighted, but recently British rock, acting and sports legends have become honoured, including Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Michael Caine and Sir Bobby Charlton.

Help Support This Web Site

Sean Banville's Book




Copyright © 2005 by Sean Banville