International College Hong Kong


ICHK’s Year 7 course in Deep History is an offshoot of a movement in schools towards synthesis and multi-disciplinarity that has been growing in confidence over the past ten to fifteen years.

It evolved from Big History, originally the brainchild of American academic David Christian, who introduced it as a course at Macquarie University in the late 1980s. The course was intended to skill up and orientate undergraduates who had opted to study history, but who had little or no understanding of how humans had come to occupy the position they had on our planet or, indeed, how conditions on Earth impacted on human life – past, present and future.

Christian’s course took a novel approach to address this gap in knowledge. It sketched out enough understanding of physics, chemistry and biology, cosmology and astronomy, geology and anthropology, to explain what happened before as well as after homo sapiens became prevalent on Earth.

At ICHK we have adapted and supplemented its materials to appeal to and engage our Year 7s as part of their Human Technologies lessons, and it provides their introduction to Humanities. Our aim is to provide them with an exciting overview of the sweep of cosmic history, in order to deliver them to a better understanding of where we find ourselves now. 


Year 8 focuses on improving and developing, subject knowledge, a chronological overview, and subject specific skills. We develop student understanding of specific areas, domains, or themes over time. 

At the same time, they will be exploring the ideas that have shaped human understanding for thousands of years from different perspectives and in a variety of ways.

The units are designed to give a broad overview of a concept or an idea and a manageable amount of depth that allows students to gain a working knowledge whilst not overburdening them. This fits with the overall idea of, ‘filling in the picture’ for the students that was started in Year 7.


In Year 9 we take an integrated approach to Humanities, in which topics are examined using the filters of IGCSE Humanities subjects: Economics, History, and Environmental Management. This approach allows students to develop the language and skills within each separate discipline, but also to appreciate the connections between different disciplines in the Humanities.

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