Elsewhere online
September 09, 2014

Bill Gates-Backed 'Big History' Course Takes Off in Schools

The New York Times Magazine chronicles the Big History Project, a new history curriculum funded by Bill Gates that is rapidly being taken up by high schools across the country.

Mr. Gates financed the curriculum's development with $10-million of his own money—not funds from his foundation—after encountering DVDs of San Diego State University professor David Christian's "Big History" lectures, which synthesize history, biology, astronomy, and other disciplines into a unifying narrative of life on Earth.

Mr. Christian, Mr. Gates, and a team of educational consultants, executives, and teachers reshaped the course into a high-school program that debuted in 2011 in five schools. This fall it will be offered free to more than 15,000 students in about 1,200 schools and could be introduced in hundreds more institutions next year.