Big History

Big History

“Knowledge is like a sphere; the greater its volume, the larger its contact with the unknown.”

Big History is part of a unique and stimulating curriculum that has been developed for our lower school students.

It examines the entire past of the universe, from the Big Bang to the present, using studies from astronomy, chemistry, biology and history.

The aim is to provide an exciting overview of the sweep of cosmic history, giving students a better understanding of where we find ourselves now.

Big History was originally the brainchild of American academic David Christian, who introduced it at Macquarie University in the late 1980s.

The course was intended to orientate undergraduates who had opted to study history, but who had little or no understanding of how humans had come to occupy their position on our planet or, how conditions on Earth impacted on human life – past, present and future.

The course was designed to address this gap in knowledge, and sketched out aspects 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.

As Big History flourished at universities, philanthropist Bill Gates became interested in the course’s potential. In 2011, with Gates’ backing, Christian announced his Big History Project, to teach the subject to secondary school students in Australia, the United States and Europe.

While the Big History Project is aimed at senior high school students, at ICHK we have adapted the course to appeal to and engage our Year 7s and 8s, and it provides their introduction to Humanities in Year 9.

Taken together with Human Technologies, it offers the perfect framework within which to approach a more informed and situated appreciation of the factors influencing contemporary global society.

Click here to enjoy an article by Big History teacher Douglas Kidd which explores our ‘Great Story’ and looks at how different branches of human knowledge are united.