Pick and Choose Resources to Lay Foundational Middle School Skills
As the name states, Big History is a great resource for helping students tackle big questions. The curriculum pulls together thematic resources from various civilizations to help students investigate important concepts like how humans populated the globe or how trade networks developed. Since I teach middle school, a lot of the material is too advanced. I like introducing students to this sort of thinking, though, and many of the resources are leveled. My class - mostly ancient civilizations with some modern connections - doesn't lend itself to the entire course (which would be awesome to teach), so I pick and choose.
How I Use It
I choose pieces of the Big History curriculum that fit with my seventh grade Ancient Civilizations course. In particular, I used Big History's "claim testing" method to teach my students to evaluate sources and arguments within sources. I also used some of the leveled reading (mostly linked from another awesome resource - Newsela), video and other activities to round out some of our units.