13.8 Billion Years of History. Free. Online. Awesome.




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What is big history project?


By sharing the big picture and challenging middle and high school students to look at the world from many different perspectives, we hope to inspire a greater love of learning and help them better understand how we got here, where we’re going, and how they fit in.

BHP is like nothing else. But if you had to categorize it, you could say it’s a social studies course that runs on jet fuel. Co-created by teachers, students, curriculum experts, and a dedicated team of tech developers, BHP was inspired by the work of David Christian and is supported by Bill Gates. The fundamental goal is to provide a world class, ready-for-the-classroom resource available to everyone, everywhere. For free.


Proven impact. Big History students show clear, demonstrated gains in reading, writing, and content knowledge. (Download)

Free, open, and online. All lessons are instantly accessible and up to date. This course was developed by educators and is free to learners and educators everywhere.

Flexible and adjustable. Customize the course to meet key learning goals in your school; tailor material to adapt to middle- or high-school students.

Standards aligned. The curriculum is designed from the ground up to hit CCSS and key state standards. 


To make it the best course ever, BHP includes:

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    Free Online Professional Development
    The Big History Project course spans 13.8 billion years of history and incorporates the insights of more than a dozen disciplines over 10 units. Teaching something this big takes a bit of preparation. That’s why we built a professional development course just for teachers. This new course, Teaching Big History, is packed with online instructional guides, detailed lesson plans, training sessions, videos, and an active teacher community—available online, anytime, anywhere.

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    BHP Teacher Community
    Through a combination of in-person summits, events, and an online community exclusively oriented around sharing best practices, teachers give  and receive support throughout the school year. The BHP team is always on call to help teachers and schools succeed with the course, but experience has showed us that BHP teachers are the real experts. When teachers bring their questions to the Community, other BHP teachers almost always beat us to the punch, responding with informed, real-world answers and suggestions.

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    Free Essay Scoring
    BHP Score is a service we designed to radically cut down on the time teachers spend grading. It costs just as much as the BHP course: nothing. Through a collaboration with Arizona State University, teachers can send essays straight to a team of trained evaluators, and get results back within the week. BHP Score isn’t designed to replace a teacher, but rather to provide clear, consistent feedback on student writing skills and growth so that the teacher can support more direct interaction with students.


  • Thinking across scale
    What can the birth of stars tell us about early humans? How have microbes influenced our social, economic, and environmental realities of today? Learn to draw patterns and connections across different scales of time and space.

  • Integrating multiple disciplines
    What do you get when a chemist, an anthropologist, and a historian meet? Three very different yet equally significant views. By integrating multiple perspectives into our thinking, we come up with new questions and insights.

  • Origin stories
    Since the earliest humans, we’ve struggled to make sense of our world and understand where we come from. Big History, which presents a perspective based on modern science, is simply another attempt to answer the big questions about our beginnings.

  • Thresholds
    BHP views the Universe as a series of moments, called thresholds. Thresholds are points in time when exactly the right ingredients and conditions come together and result in new forms of complexity. We identify eight thresholds in Big History and they are the key milestones in our story.

  • Collective learning
    Humans are the only species that can pass great quantities of information from generation to generation. This is called collective learning, and it has accelerated change in communities, civilizations, and the planet as a whole.

  • Making and testing claims
    Today we have more information on our phones than existed in all the great libraries of Alexandria. How do we decide what information to trust? Students learn to examine their intuition and evaluate the authority, evidence, and logic of claims.

Why Teach the Course?


We manage a comprehensive research program to evaluate the impact of BHP. The course is specifically tailored to support ELA skill development and content knowledge.


Among our teachers, 98 percent would recommend the course to students, and their satisfaction rate for the course is 94 percent. BHP is inspired and driven by dedicated teachers who will always remain at the center of the program and design process. Everything we do is to support teachers in the classroom.


With more than 70 road-tested lesson plans, dozens of quality videos, texts accessible in multiple reading levels, we’ve created a course that fits virtually any environment. Plus, we provide ready-for-the classroom course plans, created by our teachers, that fit a variety of scenarios ranging from a full year of BHP that covers World History requirements, another that integrates BHP and a 9th grade English Language Arts course, to a plan for middle school students. 

Explore Big History

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    Timeline: The Big Bang
    From the Universe’s first seconds to the first few millennia, explore the scale and sequence of the Big Bang.

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    Brief bio: Marie Curie
    Breaking down boundaries and blazing new trails, the two-time Nobel Prize winner conducted pioneering research on radioactivity.

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    What was young Earth like?
    Students study a short video that describes plate tectonics, a critical element in Earth’s development, which made it a place that could support life.

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    History as mystery
    Archaeologists discovered the remains of 30 ancient Romans in England – all decapitated and oddly positioned. Students must figure out what happened, and what it means to investigate history rather than read it.

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    How did the world become interconnected?
    New trade networks caused an explosion in the trade of goods, but also in the exchange of ideas, technology, and diseases.

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    The deep future
    Here’s why Big History is so big. What does the near and distant future have in store for us? Colonization? Extinction? Finally meeting extraterrestrials?

Join Us!

The Big History Project is not a for-profit program. Your engagement will exclusively benefit teachers and students around the world. It's easy to teach Big History—all you have to do is register, set up a class, and go!

    Schools that want to work with us have the option of joining a small group committed to delivering Big History. By working closely with a handful of schools, we can use feedback to rapidly improve the course.

    Districts and networks that want to explore how to bring Big History to life should reach out to discuss partnering with us. We can customize the course, aligning it with PBL, STEM, and other unique environments.

    All of our courseware is free, online, and available to any teacher. The course content and curriculum is updated and fresh. We also offer technical and curriculum assistance. If you need it, just drop us a line!

    Everything you need to know, from course pedagogy to course planning.

    Need to inform parents or your school about Big History? Use these PowerPoint Slides.

    What's the course structure? Who's behind it? Get answers to often-asked questions.


Check out our public course—a four-to-six hour tour of Big History. It's a great option for parents and lifelong learners who want to study Big History. 

Questions about the Big History Project? Send us an email.

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