download.jpg

Big Ideas


Big Ideas are declarative statements that describe concepts that transcend grade levels. Big Ideas are essential to provide focus on specific content for all students.


"An idea is a Big Idea if it helps us to make sense of lots of confusing experiences and seemingly isolated facts. It's like the picture that connects the dots or a simple rule of thumb in a complex field." - Grant Wiggins

http://www.authenticeducation.org/ae_bigideas/article.lasso?artid=99


Big Ideas answer questions like:

  1. Why exactly am I teaching this concept or content ?
  2. What couldn’t students do if they didn’t understand this concept or content ?
  3. What do I want my students to understand and be able to do 5 years from now?



This document explains the concept of Big Ideas:







This document, by Jay McTighe, offers excellent examples of Big Ideas in Math:







These are the criteria guidelines to "test" the quality of the Big Ideas. The correct answer to each statement should be YES:
  1. Can you apply the Big Idea to more than one discipline?
  2. Can you look at other grade levels and find similar or recurring Big Ideas around which to organize learning?
  3. Will the Big Idea stand the test of time?
  4. Will students be able to independently apply the Big Idea to college, career, their lives?
  5. Will students remember this Big Idea long after they leave your classroom?
  6. Does this Big Idea promote indepth understanding of the concepts and/or content area being taught?
  7. Is the Big Idea a concise statement, principle, theory or generalization?
  8. Does one have to dig deep into the Big Idea to truly understand its meaning and/or implications?
  9. Might you change your mind about the Big Idea over time?
  10. Does the Big Idea reflect the core ideas, common characteristicsof a unifying concept and/or content taught as judged by experts?
  11. Does the Big Idea help students to make sense of things?
  12. Is the Big Idea prone to disagreement? Is it arguable?




Here are some Big Ideas that may serve as examples and as thought starters for writing Student Learning Objectives (SLO):

Arts & Humanities
  1. Humans have expressed experiences and ideas through the arts throughout time and across cultures.
  2. There are formal and informal processes used to assess the quality of works in the arts.
  3. People use both aesthetic and critical processes to assess quality, interpret meaning and determine value.
  4. The skills, techniques, elements and principles of the arts can be learned, studied, refined and practiced.
  5. Artists use tools and resources as well as their own experiences and skills to create art.
  6. The arts provide a medium to understand and exchange ideas.
  7. People have expressed experiences and ideas through the arts throughout time and across cultures.
  8. There are formal and informal processes used to assess the quality of works in the arts.
  9. People use both aesthetic and critical processes to assess quality, interpret meaning and determine value.
  10. The skills, techniques, elements and principles of the arts can be learned, studied, refined and practiced.
  11. Artists use tools and resources as well as their own experiences and skills to create art.
  12. The arts provide a medium to understand and exchange ideas.
  13. People have expressed experiences and ideas through the arts throughout time and across cultures.
  14. There are formal and informal processes used to assess the quality of works in the arts.
  15. People use both aesthetic and critical processes to assess quality, interpret meaning and determine value.
  16. The skills, techniques, elements and principles of the arts can be learned, studied, refined and practiced.
  17. Artists use tools and resources as well as their own experiences and skills to create art.
  18. The arts provide a medium to understand and exchange ideas.
  19. Humans have expressed experiences and ideas through the arts throughout time and across cultures.
  20. There are formal and informal processes used to assess the quality of works in the arts.
  21. People use both aesthetic and critical processes to assess quality, interpret meaning and determine value.
  22. The skills, techniques, elements and principles of the arts can be learned, studied, refined and practiced.
  23. Artists use tools and resources as well as their own experiences and skills to create art.
  24. The arts provide a medium to understand and exchange ideas.

Business, Computer Education & Information Technology
  1. Accounting: Accounting is a process for recording, analyzing, and reporting financial transactions that has a significant impact on the quality and integrity of business and personal decisions.
  2. Career Management: Career management is a lifelong process that requires purposeful planning based on research, self-knowledge, and informed choices.
  3. Communication: Effective communication relies on the purposeful use of information in a format appropriate to the task and the audience.
  4. Computer and Information Technologies: Computer technology is a data management and communication tool essential for business and personal productivity, problem solving, and decision making in the global world.
  5. Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship integrates creativity, motivation, and business principles to establish and maintain a business venture to meet a need.
  6. Finance and Economics: Finance and Economics is managing personal and business assets to make informed decisions about the acquisition, production, and consumption of goods and services.
  7. Global Business: Global business is the relationship among cultural, political, legal, economic, and ethical systems that drive the decisions regarding what, how, and for whom to produce.
  8. Management: Management is the process of effectively using resources to plan, organize, control, and lead.
  9. Marketing: Marketing is the process of creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging products or services that have value for customers, clients, and society

Career Education & Work
  1. Personal budgeting is significantly impacted by career choice.
  2. Career retention and advancement is dependent upon student’s interpersonal skills, work habits, attitudes and effective time management skills.
  3. There is a definitive relationship between education and career planning and choice.
  4. Change as a factor and the role of lifelong learning, must be understood from a personal perspective and then as a workplace participant.
  5. Careful planning is fundamental to success.
  6. Entrepreneurs tend to exemplify unique combinations of personal characteristics that tend to distinguish them from other people.
  7. Each student will achieve and maintain a personally and professionally rewarding career journey in a diverse and changing world.
  8. Comprehensive planning leads to effective career decisions.
  9. Identification and application of sound research practices and networking strategies are essential in the career acquisition process.
  10. Effective speaking, listening and writing are essential in the career acquisition process.
  11. Understanding and demonstrating workplace skills and knowledge is paramount in the career acquisition process.
  12. Career choice and preparation are lifelong processes based on many influences and using many strategies.
  13. Change impacts career options and choices.
  14. Interests, aptitudes, and abilities are unique for each individual and play a key role in career choice.

Civics & Government
  1. The choices we make, whether as consumers or as citizens active in politics, impact people around the globe.
  2. The rapid pace of technological change has established unprecedented economic, political, and cultural interdependence among nations and individuals.
  3. An engaged citizen is a life-long learner continuing to benefit from internal maturity and external influences.
  4. A thoughtful citizen evaluates the accuracy of communications and analyzes media sources attempting to influence the public agenda.
  5. Technological innovation shakes the institutions of society to their roots, with advantageous and disastrous consequences.
  6. The enjoyment of human rights and their exercise are dependent upon the community of nations and their citizens maintaining vigilance on governments and their actions.
  7. Nationalism plays a number of influential roles with far-reaching consequences in an interdependent world.
  8. Political and economic ideas motivate societies to new behaviors.
  9. Engaged citizens understand the workings of government and use historic precedents in shaping thought and action.
  10. Engaged citizens understand the workings of government and use historic precedents in shaping thought and action.
  11. An engaged citizen is a life-long learner continuing to benefit from internal maturity and external influences.
  12. Adherence to the rule of law validates an individual’s responsibility to society.
  13. Citizens understand their rights and practice their responsibilities in a vibrant society.
  14. Civil discourse and thoughtful deliberation are necessary to promote the common good and protect the individual.
  15. Civil discourse and thoughtful deliberation are necessary to promote the common good and protect the individual.
  16. Adherence to the rule of law validates an individual’s responsibility to society.
  17. Citizens understand their rights and practice their responsibilities in a vibrant society.
  18. A thoughtful citizen evaluates the accuracy of communications and analyzes media sources attempting to influence the public agenda.

English Language Arts
  1. Writing is a recursive process that conveys ideas, thoughts and feelings
  2. Writing is a means of documenting thinking
  3. Comprehension requires and enhances critical thinking and is constructed through the intentional interaction between reader and text
  4. Purpose, topic and audience guide types of writing
  5. Effective speaking and listening are essential for productive communication.
  6. Listening provides the opportunity to learn, reflect, and respond
  7. Effective speaking and listening are essential for productive communication.
  8. Information to gain or expand knowledge can be acquired through a variety of sources.
  9. Effective use of vocabulary builds social and academic knowledge
  10. Spoken language can be represented in print.
  11. Language is used to communicate and to deepen understanding.
  12. Effective readers use appropriate strategies to construct meaning.
  13. Critical thinkers actively and skillfully interpret, analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information.
  14. Active listeners make meaning from what they hear by questioning, reflecting, responding, and evaluating.
  15. Effective speakers prepare and communicate messages to address the audience and purpose.
  16. Effective research requires the use of varied resources to gain or expand knowledge.
  17. Audience and purpose influence a writer’s choice of organizational pattern, language, and literary techniques.
  18. Rules of grammar and language conventions support clarity of communications between writers/speakers and readers/listeners.
  19. An expanded vocabulary enhances one’s ability to express ideas and information.

Economics
  1. Individuals and entities endeavor to obtain goods and services and to accumulate wealth.
  2. Economic decision-making by entities and individuals impact others locally, regionally, and around the globe.
  3. All economic systems must answer what, and how, goods and services will be produced, and who will consume those goods and services.
  4. Limited resources and unlimited wants require choices by individuals, groups, and nations.
  5. The location of resources, transportation, communication networks, and technological innovation affect international economic patterns and the distribution of wealth.
  6. The interaction of buyers and sellers determines prices and quantities exchanged, except when influenced by governmental policies.

Environment
  1. The health of all living things is directly related to the quality of the environment.
  2. Sustainable use of natural resources is essential to provide for the needs and wants of all living things now and in the future.
  3. Environmental laws and regulations impact humans, the environment, and the economy in both positive and negative ways.
  4. People acting individually and/or as groups influence the environment.
  5. Aquatic, terrestrial and human-made ecosystems consist of diverse living and non-living components that change over time and among geographic areas.
  6. Living things depend on their habitat to meet their basic needs.
  7. Humans depend upon the management and practices of agricultural systems.
  8. The survival of living things is dependent upon their adaptations and ability to respond to natural changes in and human influences on the environment.

Family & Consumer Science
  1. Responsible consumers use effective resource management to accomplish individual, family and community goals.
  2. Nutrition, eating habits and preparation choices impact overall health and wellness throughout the lifecycle at individual and societal level.
  3. Families are the fundamental unit of society; strong families empower individuals to manage the challenges of living and working in a diverse, global society.
  4. Children grow and learn in understandable observable patterns that can be recognized and optimized through consistent and stable family and community environments.

Geography
  1. Places and regions have physical and human characteristics, and one’s culture and experiences may influence perception of place.
  2. Characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations impact culture, economic interdependence, settlement patterns, and control of the Earth’s surface.
  3. Human actions modify the physical environment, and physical systems affect human systems.
  4. Geography is used to explain the past, interpret the present, and plan for the future.
  5. Geographic representations are essential to explain the spatial organization of people, places, and environments.
  6. Physical processes shape patterns of the Earth’s surface, including the characteristics and spatial distribution of ecosystems.

Health, Safety, Physical Education
  1. Health concepts are essential for wellness and a health-enhancing lifestyle.
  2. Safety impacts individual and community well-being.
  3. Safety impacts individual and community well-being.
  4. Community well-being is dependent upon a balance of personal and social responsibility.
  5. Quality lifelong movement is based on scientific concepts/principles.
  6. Community well-being is dependent upon a balance of personal and social responsibility.
  7. Health concepts are essential for wellness and a health-enhancing lifestyle.
  8. Participation in physical activity impacts wellness throughout a lifetime.
  9. Safety impacts individual and community well-being.

History
  1. The history of the Commonwealth continues to influence Pennsylvanians today, and has impacted the United States and the rest of the world.
  2. The history of the United States continues to influence its citizens, and has impacted the rest of the world.
  3. World history continues to influence Pennsylvanians, citizens of the United States, and individuals throughout the world today.
  4. Historical context is needed to comprehend time and space.
  5. Historical interpretation involves an analysis of cause and result.
  6. Perspective helps to define the attributes of historical comprehension.

Mathematics
  1. There are some mathematical relationships that are always true and these relationships are used as the rules of arithmetic and algebra and are useful for writing equivalent forms of expressions and solving equations and inequalities.
  2. Relations and functions are mathematical relationships that can be represented and analyzed using words, tables, graphs, and equations.
  3. Mathematical functions are relationships that assign each member of one set (domain) to a unique member of another set (range), and the relationship is recognizable across representations.
  4. Numerical measures describe the center and spread of numerical data.
  5. Some questions can be answered by collecting, representing, and analyzing data, and the question to be answered determines the data to be collected, how best to collect it, and how best to represent it.
  6. The likelihood of an event occurring can be described numerically and used to make predictions.
  7. Numbers, measures, expressions, equations, and inequalities can represent mathematical situations and structures in many equivalent forms.
  8. The set of real numbers has infinite subsets including the sets of whole numbers, integers, rational, and irrational numbers.
  9. Two variable quantities are proportional if their values are in a constant ratio. The relationship between proportional quantities can be represented as a linear function.
  10. Patterns exhibit relationships that can be extended, described, and generalized.
  11. Mathematical relationships can be represented as expressions, equations, and inequalities in mathematical situations.
  12. Numerical quantities, calculations, and measurements can be estimated or analyzed by using appropriate strategies and tools.
  13. Data can be modeled and used to make inferences.
  14. Geometric relationships can be described, analyzed, and classified based on spatial reasoning and/or visualization.
  15. Mathematical relations and functions can be modeled through multiple representations and analyzed to raise and answer questions.
  16. Mathematical relationships among numbers can be represented, compared, and communicated.
  17. Measurement attributes can be quantified and estimated using customary and non-customary units of measure
  18. Patterns exhibit relationships that can be extended, described, and generalized.

Science & Technology
  1. The health of all living things is directly related to the quality of the environment.
  2. Sustainable use of natural resources is essential to provide for the needs and wants of all living things now and in the future.
  3. Environmental laws and regulations impact humans, the environment, and the economy in both positive and negative ways.
  4. People acting individually and/or as groups influence the environment.
  5. Aquatic, terrestrial and human-made ecosystems consist of diverse living and non-living components that change over time and among geographic areas.
  6. Living things depend on their habitat to meet their basic needs.
  7. Humans depend upon the management and practices of agricultural systems.
  8. The survival of living things is dependent upon their adaptations and ability to respond to natural changes in and human influences on the environment.
  9. A technological world requires that humans develop capabilities to solve technological challenges and improve products for the way we live.
  10. Each area of technology has a set of characteristics that separates it from others; however, many areas overlap in order to meet human needs and wants.
  11. Technological design is a creative process that anyone can do which may result in new inventions and innovations.
  12. Technology is created, used and modified by humans.
  13. Technological literacy is the ability to use, assess and manage technology around us.

World Languages (Also consider using the Big Ideas from English Language Arts)
  1. Interpersonal Communication
  2. Presentational Communication
  3. Comparisons
  4. Interpretive Communication
  5. Cultures
  6. Communities
  7. Connections