Big History Project

Bill and David get big ideas

When Bill Gates watched Professor David Christian's lectures on big history, he was impressed by the way that Christian organised the 13.7 billion year history of the universe into an elegant and approachable framework:

"When I came across his lectures a few years ago, he really blew me away. Here's a guy who's read across the sciences, humanities, and social sciences and brought it together in a single framework. It made me wish that I could have taken big history when I was young, because it would have given me a way to think about all of the school work and reading that followed." 

Bill Gates, The Gates Notes

Bill Gates and David Christian, September 2014

Big History changed Gates' perspective on history and provided a broad context for understanding many different scientific fields, prompting him to wonder if the course could have a similar effect on students. If every student took big history, could it excite students about learning, provide on-ramps to intimidating subjects (like science) and develop critical thinking skills?

Gates and Christian met to explore the possibilities, agreeing on the promise of the course, and the Big History Project was born. The philanthropic initiative aims to make Big History broadly available in school classrooms and online. David Christian leads course content development for the Big History Project.

The Big History Project 

The Big History Project offers both a Public Course and a School Course. More information is available at

Life on Earth timeline BH live badges

DownloadBig History Project flyer for Teachers and Schools 

Teaching Reflections: Teaching Big History at Somerville House


NSW Education Standards Authority School Developed Board Endorsed courses in Big History

The Big History Institute is pleased to announce the endorsement by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) of the Stage 5 School Developed Board Endorsed 100 and 200 hour and Stage 6 1 Unit Preliminary School Developed Board Endorsed courses in Big History.

Satisfactory completion of the course will form part of the Record of Achievement (RoSA) for participating students.

The applications are available for download here:

Schools seeking endorsement to deliver Big History will need to apply via Schools Online.

Schools Online is now open for 2018 delivery, and applications close on April 7 2017. 

The Guidelines for Course proposals has a step-by-step guide for this process and can be found here.

To access a suite of professional development resources to introduce and support teachers in delivering Big History in the classroom, visit the Big History Institute Professional Development section.

To access the full Big History Project course and materials, visit

For further questions about teaching and delivering Big History in your school, please contact Elle Hrobat, Project Officer at


Presented by Chloe Simons (Curriculum Services - Tasmanian Department of Education) and Roxanne Pritchard (Taroona High School)