WHAT IS THE BIG HISTORY PROJECT?

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BIG HISTORY PROJECT / INTRODUCTION
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Big History Project
Introduction
WHAT IS BIG HISTORY?
A social studies course covering 13.7B years of shared history.
Big history looks at the history of the Universe, from the Big Bang to modernity, and explores
common themes and patterns that can help us better understand people, civilizations and the world
we live in.
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WHAT IS THE BIG HISTORY PROJECT?
A collaborative effort to create a big history course for teachers everywhere.
• Complete, free curriculum including assessments, lesson plans and all content.
• A website that provides easy access to course materials for educators and students.
• Training and professional development opportunities.
• Active community of “big historians” to keep the course fresh, impactful, and connected.
• Advocacy organization to support schools and districts seeking to deploy the course.
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WHO IS BEHIND THE BIG HISTORY PROJECT?
and Schools
1 Teachers
Course built in conjunction with core set of pilot schools – both public and independent
of Michigan
2 University
Manages student data and assessment (always anonymous!)
and drives course strategy
/ Guest Lecturers
3 Experts
Broad range of experts on cutting edge of their fields share their perspectives – including Walter
Alvarez, Janna Levin, Skip Gates , Sal Khan and many more
4 David Christian and Bill Gates
David was one of the pioneers of big history, and his college level course inspired Bill Gates
explore a collaboration designed to bring big history to high school students everywhere.
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OUR GOAL
By sharing “the big picture” and challenging students to explore the relationship between key
events over time, Big History Project helps students learn how to synthesize complex
information, develop key critical thinking skills and enhance their reading, writing,
presentation, and research skills.
These skills and the perspective big history fosters is vital not only to more discipline-specific work
in the sciences and humanities, but helps students understand and evaluate individual and societal
impact – and potential.
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WHY OFFER BIG HISTORY?
It’s a unique opportunity to engage students in a powerful learning experience that prepares them for
broader, more integrative thinking.
1. Interdisciplinary: weaves together elements of traditional history, science, and 21st century skills
2. Common Core aligned: we engineered the course to deliver on CCSS ELA standards for 9th/10th grade
3. Innovative online model: makes distribution easy and engages multiple learning styles
4. Flexible: modular curriculum can be adapted to fit school specific needs spanning PBL, STEM, ELA
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BIG HISTORY AT (SAMPLE SCHOOL)
Target grade: 9th/10th Elective
Teachers:
Approach: Pre-AP preparatory; designed to prepared students for AP US and World History by
providing background and emphasizing core skill development.
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COURSE STRUCTURE
Total course covers 13.7 billion years of history
Split into 2 main sections
1. Formations and early life: theories and evidence of origins of the Universe, planet
formation, elements, and life.
2. Humans: the development of humans, civilizations and key milestones in our progress.
Formations and early life (50%)
Pre Course Survey
Assessment 1
Humans (50%)
Assessment 2
Assessment 3
Post Course Survey
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Sample Content
Main Talk Videos
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Sample Content
Threshold Videos
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Sample Content
Animations
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Sample Content
Infographics
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Sample Content
Texts
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Sample Content
Comic Books
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Activities
Investigations
Teacher versions
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Student versions
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Activities
Project Based Learning
Teacher versions
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Student versions
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Activities
Debates
Teacher versions
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Student versions
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Activities
Claim Testing
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Activities
A Hunter-Gatherer Menu
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Website
Main Page
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Website
Unit View
Get teaching or
technical help
Unit resources
Ready-made
lessons and inline
teaching guidance
Each content
item is a tile
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Website
Unit View Continued
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Website
Lesson View
Lesson
Components
BIG HISTORY PROJECT / INTRODUCTION
All
Downloadable
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Pilot Program
Our school’s responsibilities
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Deliver a full big history course
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Actively provide feedback to program team to improve the course
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Administer light assessment program to help validate course impact
4.
Be a sponsor and advocate for the program as needed in our region
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Pilot Program
ASSESSMENT PROGRAM
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All assessments are “opt in” for students via simple consent form
2.
3 student perception surveys to gauge their reactions to the course
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3 lightweight (1250 word) writing samples
4.
3 tests focused on the core big history story and content
All data is anonmized and managed under strict supervision of The
University of Michigan with extremely high levels of privacy protection.
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The Big History Project Community
Global map icon with BH schools pinned
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Does it work?
1. Student interest in the course is strong due to unique, innovative content, and
compelling “big story.”
2. Focus on healthy debate and “claim testing” improves student engagement while
helping to hone critical thinking and presentation skills.
3. Big history’s emphasis on interpretation of past events with an eye to implications
for the future prepares students to meet the challenges of tomorrow.
4. Extremely flexible format and approach enables teachers to meet key standards
and outcomes while serving their specific school and student needs.
5. Turnkey lesson plans and assets makes teacher prep easy, and improves
effective instruction for students.
6. Strong growth in both content knowledge , skills and perception of self capacity
achieved in a wide variety of learning environments.
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Go Deeper!
David Christian’s TED talk
Check out the site (You can register!)
Learn more about Bill Gates’ participation
Follow Big History Project
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Thank You
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