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The Big Eras Volumes

These volumes, one for grades 6-10 and one for upper high school and college, are companions to the World History for Us All free curriculum.

Compact History of Humankind (grades 6-10) and World History: The Big Eras (grades 11-college) present a brief history of humankind written to encourage teachers and students to think about the past on big scales. Presenting world history in panoramic view, it puts forward the idea that students will achieve deeper understanding of world history, and find their studies more engaging, if they are guided to relate particular subject matter to large patterns of historical change.

What Teachers & Educators are Saying about The Big Eras

WHFUA has completely changed the way that I think about and teach world history. Since coming into contact with WHFUA, I have decided to completely recreate my curriculum to identity with WHFUA goals and themes. The themes have helped my students become better historians while participating in my classroom lessons, discussions, and projects. Since implementing WHFUA concepts, my students have been able to create and participate in more complex projects and seminars. WHFUA has had a major impact on my teaching and that of my department.

-- Neal Cates, Hoover Middle School
Long Beach Unified School District

WHFUA is the blueprint for any course that is genuinely World History. It can provide the foundation for individual units, or foundation for the whole spectrum of the course. These are primary sources and strategies in which to use them. Vital resource for any World History teacher.

-- Mary Price, History Teacher

Thanks for the copy of World History: The Big Eras, which arrived today. This still doesn't beat Kant's Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View for brevity (he came in at 14 pages) but he didn't cover as big a span of time, so this is very impressive achievement.

-- Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching)Monash University

The World History Big Eras publication is marvelous. Thanks so much for sending me a copy. . . . I am going to order a number of copies for colleagues.

-- Felicia Eppley, Retired History Teacher

The newest resource from the National Center of History in the Schools is "World History: The Big Eras." This document deserves a place on the desk of every teacher of world history at the secondary school level, from middle schools to high schools to Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes. The essays featured in this teaching guide take students and teachers far beyond the superficial textbooks, dull standards, and specious themes and "big ideas" found in too many classrooms. Used in conjunction with the World History for Us All electronic resources, "The Big Eras" provides a rigorous, relevant, and compelling context in which to ponder the history of our world.

-- Kirk Ankeney

Principal, San Diego High School of International Studies
Former Chair, California History-Social Science Curriculum Framework Committee

World History: The Big Eras tells a story of historical change at a grand spatial and temporal scale, and that makes it an invaluable resource for teachers and students. Absent such a big picture, teachers and students are forced to turn world history into one darn thing after another in one darn place after another. In crafting this era-by-era interpretation, Burke, Christian, and Dunn offer a valuable frame to support thinking and to help students make meaningful connections while also encouraging them to re-evaluate. I can think of no other resource as important to history teachers and students as World History: The Big Eras. It should be on every world history teacher's and every teacher-educator's reading list.

-- Bob Bain
University of Michigan

This is a really timely sketch of world history, an excellent way to get at main points, and some less familiar nuances, of the central world history story, with appropriate emphasis on the evolving role of interregional contacts.

-- Peter N. Stearns, Provost
George Mason University

Students need to acquire a usable framework of the past, a big picture organized by substantive concepts they increasingly understand and can reflect upon.

-- Peter Lee, Provost
Institute of Education, University of London

World History: The Big Eras is a brilliantly written book that covers a large span of time while keeping the reader interested and engaged.  It is readable and affordable for college students and contains many helpful questions at the end of each chapter, which makes the book ideal for use in the classroom.

-- Laura Ryan
Professor of History, Southwestern College

I was assigned a Social Studies prep this year and struggled to deliver content effectively. It is still a challenge, but my burden has been lightened considerably by the "History For Us All" curriculum. Incredible work! Many thanks for making these resources available. It has transformed my classroom for the better.

-- Natalie Lewis
Middle Years Programme Mathematics & Science Teacher
Island Academy International School (Antigua, West Indies)

Using "big history," looking at historical events beginning with the creation of the universe and coming all the way to the present, and "big geography," focusing on the largest scale features of the earth's environment, the authors build a historical manual that leads students to comparisons of human beings through different periods of time - from decades to millennia - and space - from the local to the regional to the global. Amazingly they are able to accomplish this in a mere 90 pages of well organized chapters each covering a distinct historical era while examining the same three basic themes: Humans and the Environment, Humans and Other Humans, and Humans and Ideas.

--Excerpt from World History Bulletin Fall 2011 Vol. 27 No. 2
Georgia Afxendiou, Sachem High SchoolYou can read the full review here: World History Bulletin - Big Eras Review

What Students are Saying about The Big Eras:

As a history major, I found Big Eras to be incredibly helpful to learn about larger themes that span long periods of time. This is definitely a book I will keep throughout my time at UCLA.

-- Lauren McQuade, Undergraduate, UCLA

Having never had a world history class before, I liked Big Eras a lot because it put things into perspective for me.

-- Charle Le, Undergraduate, UCLA

Big Eras gave me the foundation to be able to understand world history in a way that is not overwhelming. The format and accessibility of the book is a plus.

-- Daire Brown, Undergraduate, UCLA

See also a review of World History: The Big Eras in World History Connected.

To hear what teachers are saying about the book, visit World History for Us All.

A Chinese translation of World History: The Big Eras was also written. Read more: here.