Welcome to Gifted Honors World History Two!
This year, World History Honors in DVUSD will be participating in the Big History Project.
What is Big History?
Big History is a course designed to help students see the overall picture and make sense of the pieces. It looks at the past from the Big Bang to modern times, while working to find common themes/patterns to better understand people, civilizations and the world.
The idea is to have students explore the connections/links throughout time and analyze the impact on the modern world, and future. There is a strong emphasis on critical thinking abilities as students make the connection between concepts. Videos, articles, graphs, discussions, writing are all incorporated into each unit. The program is free, created by David Christian, in collaboration with the University of Michigan. Everything can be found online.
Thinking across scales
Integrating multiple disciplines
Making and testing claims.
Thresholds –Big History looks at the Universe as a series of movements called thresholds. It uses these moments to describe Universal change. These thresholds provide a helpful means of analysis that can be applied to more traditional historical contexts and other disciplines.
Collective Learning – the ability to preserve and build knowledge over time.
Origin Stories – there are many explanations as to the origin of the universe. Big History uses the most modern, scientific origin story. This means the Big History is constantly changing as new discoveries are made.
To get a better picture of The Big History Project, I encourage you to watch this Ted Talk.
Though Big History is “bigger” than the typical course in world history, the standards in world history played an important role in the framing of the course. Students of Big History expand their thinking about history by using multiple scales of time and space to frame their inquiry. Of course, the Big History story begins well before the typical course in world history, extending back 13.8 billion years. The first four units in the course deal with non-human history. The next six units address human history, covering time and events that follow the shape and contour of more-typical courses in global history. National World History Standards and relevant state standards were used in shaping this course content. The national and state standards in world history are reflected in the course outcomes and student assignments, including the Investigations. For example, in the Big History course students should be able to:
- Use archaeological and anthropological evidence to describe the physical and cultural changes of humans from our earliest foraging ancestors (Paleolithic) through to the development of agrarian civilizations such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, and India.
- Analyze the differences between foraging communities and agrarian communities, evaluating the differences in lifeways.
- Analyze the growth and impact of human language on human culture, considering the impact of language on collective learning.
- Evaluate the changing ways humans have come to understand the Universe, the life and death of stars, the Solar System and the Earth, life, chemistry, and the development of new ways to study human societies.
- Analyze the work of important scientific and historical thinkers and inventors of new technology and tools, such as the work of Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Hubble, Aristotle, and Mendeleev.
- Explain how thresholds of increasing complexity, differing scales of time and space, claim testing, and collective learning help us understand historical, current, and future events as part of a larger narrative.
- Integrate perspectives from multiple disciplines to create, defend, and evaluate the history of the Universe and Universal change.
- Deepen an understanding of key historical and scientific concepts and facts; use these in constructing explanations.
- Engage in meaningful scientific inquiry and historical investigations by being able to hypothesize, form researchable questions, conduct research, revise one’s thinking, and present findings that are well-supported by scientific and historical evidence.
- Critically evaluate, analyze, and synthesize primary and secondary historical, scientific, and technical texts to form well-crafted and carefully supported written and oral arguments
- Communicate arguments to a variety of audiences to support claims through analysis of substantive texts and topics; use valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence through individual or shared writing, speaking, and other formats.
The course utilizes a cross-curricular approach with not only a history focus, but a combination of science as well. This will allow students to understand the concept of scale and multiple perspectives while also displaying their knowledge with choice. There are many project-based lessons and interactive assignments throughout the course that are specifically designed for gifted high school kids. For more infrormation on Gifted Services in the district, please see the Gifted Services Site.