Online course that integrates science and history to put the history of mankind in a cosmic perspective.
I'm a big fan of Big History, and I've taught it for two years. I enjoy the interdisciplinary nature of the course, how it integrates the humanities and sciences. Much of what students learn in school is fragmented into different silos. Math, biology, chemistry, history are taught as completely unrelated subjects. Big History, however, shows how earlier thresholds in the history of the universe have led to the modern revolution we are experiencing today. Big History is also aligned to the CCSS. Through document-based "Investigations" in each unit, students learn to make claims and support their claims with evidence. My team teacher and I agree that Big History has helped improve our students' writing abilities. By the end of the year, our 9th graders know how to use and cite quotations and specific facts to support their claims.
How I Use It
I teach this as an elective class paired with an English class. It could be taught as a stand-alone history elective class for 9th graders or as a capstone class for 11th and 12th graders. The website and content have gone through several redesigns. I feel it is becoming clearer and more user-friendly. I think more schools should offer Big History as a elective class. However, if this is not possible in your school, Big History would be a great supplement to a World History class. Activities and lectures in the course for Units 6-9 could be used to put World History in a more global context.