School District 71 welcomed its inaugural Big History Project as a joint event with Cumberland Community School and Highland Secondary School grade 9 students Wednesday at the Native Sons Hall.
The event is a non-profit program which examines history from the Big Bang to the present. The project – which has its origins from a TED Talk – blends science and the humanities and helps students explore human existence in the context of a much bigger picture.
“(The Big History Project) is a completely free curriculum and it’s so well organized. I just started thinking about how I would like to do something a little bit different,” explained Charity Munro, a humanities teacher at Highland Secondary School.
Munro said planning for the project began at the end of last year. But when she first presented the idea, she admitted her grade 9 students were a bit unsure.
“We made a big deal out of it. We told them ‘we brought you here on purpose to do this thing and we know you’re the kids to do it.’ The idea is to have this day, and although it’s daunting to push the kids to do it, I’m really glad I did. I learned a lot about what you can expect in your kids and what they can deliver if you’re really enthusiastic and make them feel safe and prepared.”
Students were able to pick a subject area of their choosing and delve deeper into its ‘Little Big History’ through displays, examples and demonstrations.
Cumberland Community School student Naomi Chrette and her friend chose to examine the topic of gold – its origin, value and use.
“I’ve been pretty excited (about the event). I’m excited to show off our own project and talk to other people, but also, I want to know what’s going through other people’s thoughts of what they think when they think of Little Big History. (Gold) is what came to mind for us but for other people its (things like) tea, which I would have never thought of.”
Other topics on display included skateboarding, solar panels, American Sign Language, make-up, racism and avocados.