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Big History – how’s this for a high school history course?

September 12, 2013

Big History

This is my kind of history course. It’s called Big History, it’s intended for high school students, and it spans the 13.7 billion years from the Big Bang to the present. Here’s an overview of the course, taken from the teachers’ guide.

Big history weaves evidence and insights from many scientific and historical disciplines across 13.7 billion years into a single, cohesive, science-based origin story. The concept arose from a desire to go beyond specialized and self-contained fields of study to grasp history as a whole. Big history explores how we are connected to everything around us and where we may be heading. It provides a foundation for thinking about the future and the changes that are reshaping our world.

The Big History course is the brainchild of David Christian, a history professor at Macquarie University. Here he is talking about the Big History concept.

The Big History Project is getting lots of support from Bill Gates, who thinks it’s the ultimate history course. More at the ABC here.

  1. That is what Carl Sagan tried to accomplish with his ‘Cosmos’ series. It is a worthy goal: to include in our newly developing worldwide culture a synoptic framework that would help people make the choices that would favor the continuation of intelligent and humane life of terrestrial origin. The new attempt has several advantages. (1) It is much more concise, so more people can be exposed to it, and more of those who see it can digest it. (2) High school students are the primary target audience. They are old enough to understand it, and are at an open minded age. But material at a high school level can also be interesting enough to appeal to adults. (3) Its diffusion is well funded. We should all push for its success.

  2. Leonia permalink

    I LOVE the reverse scrambled egg analogy that he opens with. That would have definitely put things into perspective when I was in High School many moons ago, and hopefully it will help young (& older people) today.

    I really enjoyed Mr. Christian’s presentation. Living in Texas USA, it’s been hard to stay hopeful for the fate of TRUE Science in our public schools. This week the Texas State Board of Education again began considering proposed changes to textbooks to include more on biblical creationism and less on evolution. The final vote will be in November.

    I can’t understand it. Confusing young people and using our taxes to shape them with biased agendas; it’s abhorrent and disheartening. I wish Mr. Christian & Mr. Bill Gates much success with this program.

    In case anyone’s interested:

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