Teaching life, the universe, and everything in between through history, geology & evolution.

Everything students have ever wanted to know about the history of the universe, from the Big Bang through to the formation of the galaxy and our earth, the beginnings of life on earth.

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 about 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.

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.

Primary Education Resources

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, these lessons can be taught as standalone resources.

How to Be a Big Historian – 
English, Hass, Science – Years 3 to 6

Students will prepare to study the Big (Hi)story of the universe by exploring what they already know, don’t know, and want to know about the universe. They will investigate what a cosmologist does, and how to be a claims tester.

Just How Big and Old is the Universe – Maths, Hass, Science
– Years 3 to 6

Students will try to gain some perspective on just how big the universe is, and how long it’s been around, by visually representing the scale of the history of the universe.

Origin Stories – 
English, Hass, Science
– Years 3 to 6

Students will learn the scientific origin story of the universe, and what actually happened during the expanded birth of the universe, commonly known as the Big Bang. 

Evidence for the Big Bang – 
English, Hass, Science
– Years 3 to 6

This lesson puts students in the role of critical thinking cosmologists, conducting a simple experiment to test the discoveries of James Hubble and the theories of other scientists about Redshift, the Big Bang, and the origins of the universe.

How Are Stars Formed? – 
English, Hass, Science
– Years 3 to 6

This lesson explores what formed in the universe as a result of the Big Bang and how these things worked together to create stars. Students independently research a star and present their understanding in the form of a comic strip.. 

What are elements? – 
English, Hass, Science
– Years 3 to 6

After examining how the death of stars created new, heavier elements in the growing universe, students will independently investigate a chemical element from the Periodic Table of Elements and explain its importance in our world.

What are planets made of? – 
English, Hass, Science, Art
– Years 3 to 6

Students explore the process of accretion and its role in the creation of our Solar System and the planet Earth. They will then independently investigate planets and demonstrate their understanding by creating their own planet.

Life on Earth – 
English, Hass, Science
– Years 3 to 6

This lesson explores how life began on earth, and how it continued to develop from there. It uses Peppered Moths and Charles Darwin’s finches to explore, simplistically, the concepts of natural selection and evolution.

Human development: Evolution – English, Hass, Science
– Years 3 to 6

Students explore a timeline of human evolution and the role of archaeologists in discovering this information. They conduct an experiment that demonstrates the usefulness of opposable thumbs as an evolutionary step.

Human development: Collective Learning – English,
Hass, Science – Years 3 to 6

Students explore how symbols allowed early humans to store and communicate important knowledge, and to grow through collective learning. Students create their own symbol based written language and use it to share ideas.

Human development: Agriculture and Civilisation
English, Hass, Science
– Years 3 to 6

This lesson explores the impact of the development of agriculture (farming) on human civilisation. Students explore the changes that farming made to the way early humans lived, and investigate what has formed the human diet throughout history.

Human development: Expansion and interconnection – English, Hass, Science
– Years 3 to 6

Students look at inventions across history that improved human’s ability to travel and communicate across the globe, thereby increasing their ability to learn collectively. 

Assessment Task: The Future – English, Hass, Science – Years 3 to 6

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

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New PD! Big History

Gain an overview of the Big History story, why it is important for Primary education and the cross-curriculum priority of Sustainability, and how to apply a critical, inquiry-based perspective to science education across all areas of the curriculum. There will be opportunities to learn about a range of tools, tips, lessons and resources that focus on a multi-disciplinary approach.

The course will take around 2 hours to complete and is available now for $49.95.

Head to the course

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