Columbus – KQ4 – What was life like on board during such a long journey?

This question shifts the focus away from the actions of just one man and adds a colourful dimension to the topic. Pupils have to consider the hazards and privations on such a voyage at the time so they get a real feel for Columbus bravery and skill as a captain keeping his crew from mutinying!

Step 1 – Releasing prior knowledge

Start by asking pupils to look closely at the images on the title slide which gives some ideas as to what a 15th sailing vessel was like.Slides 2 and 3 give even more detail of the size and proportions.But what would it have been like for the crew.Rather than tell pupils, ask them to think what some of the problems might be facing the sailors who were going on such a long voyage into uncharted territory on one of these boats.It is important to release any prior knowledge pupils might have as well as helping to ascertain what their starting points are.

Step 2 – extending knowledge

To quickly get a feel for conditions at the time, read aloud a simplified diary extract from one of the sailors who went with Columbus on the Santa Maria (RS1).What were the

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