I found this email to a mother of a student I had the the 7th grade world history class I taught.
Thank you for writing. Feedback from parents is always helpful for me; it helps me to see where I may need to make adjustments in my classes. If I am understanding your question correctly, you want to know what relevance the Big Idea Project has to World History. I’ll try to answer your question as best as I can.
In my view, History is a narrative, a story, a retelling of what has happened. In World History we talk about events that have happened in the world from the time people kept a record of them until now. I don’t believe we can get a proper understanding of these events without looking at the people who were involved, whether effecting events or being affected by them, and the ideas that influenced them.
World History covers an extremely broad spectrum. It provides the context for every other discipline of learning: math, language, art, science, music, medicine, theology and everything in between. The ideas of all these disciplines have overlapped, interplayed, shaped world events and affected our heritage as human beings. Of course, in our class we simply go over the highlights, particularly those pointed out in the curriculum text book. In the first semester we got an overview of the Ancient, Greek, Roman and Medieval world up until the Reformation. This semester we picked up from that point and are now setting the stage for modern history. In the last weeks we covered the formative years of England, America and now France, as well as the exploration that expanded our view of the world.
We are about to get into chapter nineteen of our text book: Science and Industry in the Modern Age. It covers the development of science, industry and technology and shows how people with ideas and inventions have changed our world. I thought this would be a great time to give the class a fun, hands-on assignment in which they can be the innovators and inventors. That is why I chose to give the class this project on big ideas. Along those same lines, chapter twenty is about music, art, and literature, after which there will be a Master of Music Essay due.
What I want the kids to walk away with more than anything is the idea that we can make a difference in the world as so many others have before us. Yes, I want to introduce them to the major people and events of the past. But I also want them to know that history is being made as we speak. The story of history continues to be written with the lives of ordinary people just like us.
I realize I have been long winded, but I hope I was able to address your concerns. If I can be of any more help to you please let me know.