Activity Introduction

Quick summary: This assessment task summarises students’ learning across this unit. Students work in small groups to research, plan, design, and present a sustainable future city.

Subjects: Science, English, HASS

Year Level: Primary

Topics: The Big Bang, History

Teaching Time: We think you’ll require 60 minutes to set up this assessment task, but completing this project could take weeks. Look through this lesson and see how much time you’re willing to dedicate to Part C.

Unit: This is Lesson 13 of the Big History – Primary unit.

For more information on how to teach this unit and develop a transdisciplinary approach to your teaching, check out our Big History PD.

This Big History Program for primary school students is based on the Big History Project as adapted by Marilyn Ahearn and Marisa Colonna. Click here to view these lessons in their far more expansive original format.

Resources Required:

You may decide on different entrances to this story in your classroom. That is perfectly reasonable – as long as we tell the whole emerging story of our universe, as we know it! Think of the story as a chapter book where children need to hear the whole story to make sense of it – if we hear fragments from various chapters we are left with fragments once more!

Therefore, we strongly recommend you teach this unit as a whole from start to finish. You can find all of the Presentation Slides, Teacher Worksheets, Student Worksheets, and other required resources for download in this folder.

Alternatively, the resources for this lesson as a standalone are:

21st-Century Skills:

CommunicatingCreative ThinkingCritical ThinkingDigital LiteracyGlobal Citizenship  

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – Facilitate explicit teaching and guide students through independent work. 

Australian Curriculum Mapping

“It is one of the many odd features of modern society, that despite having access to more information than any earlier society, those in modern educational systems … teach about (our) origins in disconnected fragments. We seem incapable of offering a unified account of how things came to be, the way they are.” – David Christian, 2011, Maps of time: an introduction to big history

We encourage you to teach Big History both through and in-between disciplines (transdisciplinary)

The story of our universe needs the expertise of academic disciplines to be made sense of and explained in full. The best evidence from a wide range of disciplines presents the current best answers to our big questions.

As primary educators, this provides us in turn with the opportunity to engage with this story from a particular perspective that your grade and/or school currently requires. This means that it is not seen as an add-on/extracurricular activity that our overloaded timetables cannot cope with. English, Science, & Creative Arts syllabuses easily incorporate Big History, alongside the skills and concepts from History and Geography. Maths, too, can be incorporated in the discovery of large numbers and measuring the large scales of time and space!

Syllabus outcomes: EN2-1A, EN2-2A, EN2-3A, EN2-4A, EN2-6B, EN2-7B, EN2-8B, EN29-B, EN2-10C, EN2-11D, EN2-12E, ST2-1WS-S, ST2-7MW-T, ST2-2DP-T, ST2-3DP-T, ST2-11DI-T, HT2-2, HT2-3, HT2-5, GE2-1, GE2-2, GE2-3, GE2-4, VAS2-1,VAS2.4

General capabilities: Literacy, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability, Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability.

Big History embraces a curriculum that emphasises nature, economics, society and our own wellbeing to empower children to see our world view from the context of a unified universe story, not merely from within our local cultural worldview! 

Learning our emerging and unified 13.82 billion years of Big History helps us to understand the changing nature and fragility of our complex environment. We can use that knowledge of the past, present and future to investigate future possibilities for sustainable ways to meet our own needs and the needs of future generations.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Assessment Task (Lesson 13): The Future

Learning intentions: Students will...

  • … demonstrate their understanding of principles of sustainability.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … research and design a future city.

Teacher Content Information:

The future. What do 13.8 billion years of history tell you about yourself? How does knowing so much about the past change the way you think about the future? These may be the most important questions Big History asks. How would you answer them?

Big History is an unfinished story. In this final unit, students will put together everything they've learned so far about the past and use it to consider the future. 

What do they think life will be like in 10 years? In 50? How will we humans use innovation to meet our growing energy needs with limited natural resources? How will we balance complexity and fragility with sustainability? What role will students play in shaping the future? What will be the next major threshold of increasin

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Student Worksheet

Student Worksheet - Lesson 13

Thought-starter: The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #11 is to make cities inclusive, safe and resilient.

Step 1. Highlight the expert area you are responsible for, then research using at least 3 resources in that area and make notes below. You can also do some of your own independent research.

You might want to split the resources between the members of your expert group and share your findings at the end. 

Step 2: Bring this knowledge back to your homegroup team. Remember: You are also responsible for learning about every expert area from your homegroup team members!

Sustainable housing expert

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