BIG History is here!

By Jake Clapp, Academic Dean

My colleague Susan Fine and I, along with three History teachers – Beth Calderone (The Blake School, MN), Ben Watsky (King’s Academy, Jordan), and Tim Morford (Columbus Academy, OH) – spent July 8-10 planning an interscholastic version of 9th grade Big History. Big History is, in a nutshell, a modern origin story – a compaction of 13.8 billion years of history, from the Big Bang to the present day, woven together by principles and theories from many disciplines. The Big History Project, started by David Christian and Bill Gates, has made its curriculum freely available online to anyone who wants to use it.

We came together in Seattle, Washington. We talked. We planned. We ate. We hung out.

We had time to think deeply about three questions that will guide our work together in the coming months:

  • How could we utilize the online environment to enhance students’ experience in Big History, not only to help them become more adept online learners, but also to bring them into contact with students from other schools?
  • How would we coordinate this multi-school effort, keeping all 3 schools in some sort of synchronicity despite their varying weekly schedules and vacations?
  • How would we set ourselves up to continue the work of mapping and planning once our time together ended?

Moving forward, member school teachers Beth, Ben, and Tim will each work with 14-18 9th grade students from their respective schools and with each other throughout the 2014-15 school-year collaborating, communicating, and deepening students’ foundation in world history. We’ll look forward to sharing more as this partnership gets further underway. For now, I invite you to check out a few photos and learn more about The Big History Project (below).


GOA's Big History teaching team from The Blake School, King's Academy, and Columbus Academy

Top: Beth Calderone (The Blake School, MN), Ben Watsky (King’s Academy, Jordan), and Tim Morford (Columbus Academy, OH) Bottom: Big History teachers with Jake Clapp and Susan Fine

About The Big History Project

The Big History Project considers the big questions about our Universe, our planet, life, and humanity. From the Big Bang to modern-day to where we are going in the future, Big History covers it all.