Kids Hour: A Day in the Life of a Portuguese Sailor (Ages 10-12) with Pascal Ansell - Context Travel

Kids Hour: A Day in the Life of a Portuguese Sailor (Ages 10-12) with Pascal Ansell

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Before the age of steam, have you ever wondered how ships managed their voyages using only the wind? Join historian Pascal Ansell to embark on a typical Portuguese vessel during the Age of Discoveries. Travelling back 500 years in history, we will accompany André, a sailor on one of his days -- one ordinary to him, but completely extraordinary to us -- as he works, plays and sleeps alongside his fellow crew members. Tracing the sun's rising and setting, we'll take part in his daily tasks, sampling the food (any maggots in the broth today?), and finding time to stare at the flat and endless ocean, exploring the André's motivations for taking such a seafaring risk in this turbulent and emerging period.

Sailors like André were at the mercy of the weather, as well as enemy ships. Even when every crewmember pulls together, it still made for an uncomfortable and sometimes perilous existence. With always an eye on the sandglass, we'll meet the essential crew, comparing the jobs of the captain to the carpenter, the sail-repairer to the cook.

What navigational instruments did they use? What other types of ships might we encounter? How did they pass the time? And why did these ships go to such trouble making these difficult journeys to begin with? Using narrative and quizzes, we will uncover all of this, as well as performing the difficult leap with our historical imaginations, trying to contextualise the faith of many of the sailors using the prayers they recited.

Led by an expert in Portuguese history, this interactive seminar will teach kids about this intrepid new territory of globalisation and maritime history. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of a world that was fast becoming more connected, yet by such hazardous means.

Materials Needed:

  • Pencils and coloring pencils
  • Paper

    Kids Hour

    Context’s Kids Hour conversations are 45-60 minute live, interactive sessions specially designed for kids. We include learning activities on all our Kids Hour conversations.

    Your child should come prepared with any materials indicated in the conversation description.

    Kids Hour Zoom etiquette:
  • Zoom display name should reflect the name of the child
  • The expert may mute all participants while she is speaking. Please use the raise hand feature to ask a question.


    My child is older/younger than the suggested age grouping. May they join? The age range we have indicated is a suggestion based on the content of the conversation and teaching approach. Ultimately the decision to book a younger or older child is at your discretion. We generally design our Kids Hour conversations for the following age groupings: 7-9 and 10-12.

    Am I required to accompany my child? Your child is welcome and encouraged to attend the conversation independently. We just ask that you assist with start-up in case your child has difficulty entering the Zoom room, changing their display name, and finding the mute and/or raise hand feature.

    What if my child has a question during the conversation? The expert may choose to mute all participants while she is speaking. On our adult conversations, participants use Zoom’s chat function to ask questions. On our Kids Hour conversations, we use the raise hand feature.

    Does my child need to come with any materials? We will indicate in the description of the conversation if there are materials that need to be pre-prepared.

    Is your fee per learner or per family? Our fee is per learner.

    Are Kids Hour conversations group or private? Our Kids Hour conversations are group sessions. Each is open to up to 20 learners. If you would like to schedule a private conversation for your child only, please contact us at

    How do I change the Zoom participant display name to reflect my child’s? To change your name after entering a Zoom meeting, click on the “Participants” button at the top of the Zoom window. Next, hover your mouse over your name in the“Participants” list on the right side of the Zoom window. Click on “Rename”. Enter the name you'd like to appear in the Zoom meeting and click “OK”.

    Born in Oxford, UK, to an Anglo-Belgian family, Pascal graduated with a first-class B.A. honors in English & Music after studying in Leeds and Berlin. Based in Lisbon, he is interested in the history of the commonplace elements within everyday life. He has published about and taught a wide range of cultural histories, from coffee to wine consumption in Europe, to medieval and early modern Portuguese history, as well as the 'permanent street art' of Portugal's tiles and cobblestones. Pascal also lectures on art theory and philosophy, developing concepts surrounding 'sub-realism' and aesthetically-engaged mysticisms. He has performed across Europe and released music under various labels in the UK, Poland, and Portugal.

    This conversation is suitable for children aged 10-12.

    60 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.