What is a Big Idea?

Big Ideas are interdisciplinary and multifaceted concepts covering everything from local politics to global debates. Learning through Big Ideas integrates perspectives from multiple disciplines, cultures, and ways of understanding the world. They provide opportunities to explore sustainability through real world scenarios that learners can connect to their everyday life. Learners can acquire new knowledge and skills by digging deeper into the meaning and implications of big ideas. Facing the Future is organized around eight big ideas: Connecting with Nature, Equity and Justice, Health and Resiliency, Interconnectedness, Local to Global, Peace and Collaboration, Respect for Limits, and Universal Responsibility. The activities and readings in Facing the Future materials provide opportunities for learners to explore these ideas in a variety of contexts and disciplines and to incorporate these ideas into their own thinking, problem solving, and decision-making.

 [Note: The following discussion of Big Ideas was adapted from Nolet (2016) Education for Sustainability: Principles and Practices for Teachers.]