• BHP Lesson 45: The Future of Our Planet

    Our future faces several potential problems, but we’re also equipped with plenty of tools to make positive changes now. How can empathy help us solve even the most pressing global issues?


    Driving Question: How can we work today to solve problems that will affect future generations?

    • We’ve identified a number of problems affecting the world today. We know they’ll have an impact on future generations…
    • 22 May 2020
  • BHP Lesson 44: The Deep Future

    Why do we need the past in order to make informed decisions about the future? Today we’ll take a look at what historical evidence can do for us today and even into the deep future, trillions of years from now!


    Driving Question: How can we use historical evidence to make more accurate predictions of the future?

    • We’ve spent this entire course learning about the past. But the past is important…
    • 21 May 2020
  • BHP Lesson 43: Visions of the Future

    The interconnection of our planet and our acceleration of energy use has brought with it plenty of challenges. Today Alphonse the camel will be here to help us identify the biggest problems facing humanity today.


    Driving Question: What are the most pressing global problems today?

    • In this course, we’ve learned about a number of human impacts on the planet. Especially since the planet became interconnected…
    • 20 May 2020
  • BHP Lesson 42: Globalization

    The world is more interconnected than ever before. Today we can cross the Atlantic Ocean in under eight hours. It took Columbus over a month. Are we better for it?


    Driving Question: To what extent has globalization been a positive or negative force?

    • In the past 600 years, we’ve made some pretty incredible improvements in travel. Let’s examine three transatlantic voyages. In 1492, it took Columbus…
    • 19 May 2020
  • BHP Lesson 41: The History of Everything

    We’ve studied 13.8 billion years of history in this course. Now it’s time to reflect on what we’ve learned!


    Driving Question: What were the most significant events in history?

    • If you had to identify the three most important moments in your life, what were they? That’s a pretty small timeline! What if we made our timeline larger? How would that change what you deemed significant…
    • 18 May 2020
  • BHP Lesson 40: The Implications of Acceleration

    We live in the healthiest and wealthiest age in history, yet those qualities are not shared equally among people around the globe. Today we'll examine how acceleration increased inequality.


    Driving Question: How has acceleration increased inequality?

    • The Modern Revolution created the world we live in today. New global networks of exchange accelerated collective learning and innovation. The world…
    • 15 May 2020
  • BHP Lesson 39: The Anthropocene

    Humans have become the dominant species on the planet. Have our actions been overall more positive or more negative?

    Driving Question: To what extent has the Anthropocene been positive?

    • For most of the past 10,000 years or so, the biosphere has been a fairly stable and predictable place. Whether you look at temperature, types of vegetation, soils, or sea level, the basic characteristics of the biosphere…
    • 14 May 2020
  • BHP Lesson 38: The Industrial Revolution

    Many of the comforts of our modern life can be traced to the Industrial Revolution, from the clothes we wear to the foods we eat. Alphonse the camel returns as co-host to examine how the Industrial Revolution transformed the way goods were produced and life as we know it. 


    Driving Question: How did change accelerate?

    • How has the world changed since you’ve been born? In my own life, I’ve witnessed…
    • 13 May 2020
  • BHP Lesson 37: Appetite for Energy

    What kinds of energy have you used in the past 24 hours? Which of those sources were used 100 years, or 500 years in the past? Our appetite for energy has accelerated during the Modern Revolution!


    Driving Question: How has our energy use changed over time?

    • Create a list of all the energy that you’ve used in the past 24 hours. What are your top three sources? I’ve definitely used some electric energy…
    • 12 May 2020
  • BHP Lesson 36: The Modern Revolution

    Just a few hundred years after the interconnection of the world zones, there was a dramatic acceleration in innovation and population growth. These changes ushered in the Modern Revolution.


    Driving Question: How did the Modern Revolution develop?

    • What does a day in your life look like? How do you think it compares to someone who lived 500 years ago? If you’re like me, technology rules your world…
    • 11 May 2020
  • BHP Lesson 35: Personal Supply Chain

    Where does our stuff come from? Why does it matter? Most of the things we buy and eat were made far from our homes. Today we’ll trace the journey of our stuff from raw material to finished product.


    Driving Question: Where does our stuff come from and why does it matter?

    • Check the tag on your shirt. Where was it made? Mine says, “Made in China.” Go check some of the other things you own: your…
    • 8 May 2020
  • BHP Lesson 34: History of Money

    What did we do before the invention of money? And who invented it? Will it ever go away completely? Today we’re doing a little big history of money!


    Driving Question: How has money changed over time?

    • What’s the oldest coin you can find in your house? What’s the most interesting currency you can find? Do you have any foreign currency? Go ahead and look! In my search, I found a penny from 1964…
    • 7 May 2020
  • BHP Lesson 33: Age of Exploration

    More people, more connections, and more exchange lead to innovation. Today Alphonse the camel is back to co-host our discussion on the ways that new networks of trade and migration increased our ability to learn collectively.


    Driving Question: How did new networks of exchange accelerate collective learning?

    • Have you ever heard the saying that “the smartest person in the room is the room”? What does…
    • 6 May 2020
  • BHP Lesson 32: The Four World Zones

    In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue...and then what?! This initial exchange of people, goods, ideas, plants, animals, and diseases changed the world forever.


    Driving Question: How did the world become interconnected?

    • In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue and began the process of connecting regions of the world that up until that point were relatively isolated. Each region had its own characteristics…
    • 5 May 2020
  • BHP Lesson 31: Expansion of Civilizations

    Your civilization is growing in population and power, but it’s also running out of resources. As the leader, would you decide to tax your people or invade your neighbors? Today we’ll explore the question of why civilizations of the past chose to expand.


    Driving Question: Why did civilizations expand?

    • Imagine you’re part of the ruling class of an agrarian civilization. Your civilization…
    • 4 May 2020
  • BHP Lesson 30: Recordkeeping & History

    If you’ve ever played a game of telephone then you understand how unreliable human memory is on its own. The invention of writing was a game-changer! No more telephone. Humans finally had a way to efficiently and effectively pass down their knowledge.


    Driving Question: How did the invention of writing accelerate collective learning?

    • Do you like to look back at your old notes to prepare for…
    • 1 May 2020
  • BHP Lesson 29: Human Migrations

    As farming spread, so did humans! These migrations led to increased populations, more innovations, and a huge increase in collective learning. What are the effects of the movement of people around the globe?


    Driving Question: What are the positive and negative impacts of agriculture?

    • Humans spread farming and all its side benefits with them as they migrated around the globe. We know that this led…
    • 30 Apr 2020
  • BHP Lesson 28: The Emergence of Early Cities

    Early cities were complex! We can find evidence of art, writing, law codes, and new and complex ways of organizing society. Today, Alphonse the camel will help us unpack what life was like in early cities from some of the artifacts they left behind.


    Driving Question: How did societies change as they became more complex?

    • Have you picked up any new hobbies during this pandemic? Found any new interests…
    • 29 Apr 2020
  • BHP Lesson 27: Agrarian Civilizations

    The domestication of plants and animals meant more people could settle in one place, allowing our populations to grow larger and denser. Over time, cities, states and empires emerged.


    Driving Question: Where and why did the first cities and states appear?

    • The development of agriculture allowed humans to abandon the foraging life that they had relied on for most of their history and settle down in…
    • 28 Apr 2020
  • BHP Lesson 26: The Rise of Agriculture

    The invention of farming about 12,000 years ago meant that humans finally stopped chasing their food and settled down to farm! This gave us vast new food and energy resources, which dramatically changed the way we lived.


    Driving Question: Why was agriculture so important?

    • As we discussed last week, the life of a forager was consumed with finding sources of food and water, but about 12,000 years…
    • 27 Apr 2020
  • BHP Lesson 25: Hunters-Gatherers

    What was a day in the life of early humans like? Wake up at dawn. Walk in search of water and food. Try not to get injured while hunting. Maybe just go fishing instead—that seems safer. Relax with family and friends to watch the sunset. Was life as a forager better than the life we know today?


    Driving Question: How did the first humans live?

    • Look out your window. Imagine all the homes, buildings…
    • 24 Apr 2020
  • BHP Lesson 24: Symbolic Language

    Can you imagine a pink elephant? Even though you’ve never seen one, it is possible to conjure up an image in your head. Humans are unique in their ability to imagine things that don’t exist and never will. It’s all thanks to the power of symbolic language. 


    Driving Question: What makes humans different?

    • We know from Jane Goodall’s work that chimps display emotions like humans, and…
    • 23 Apr 2020
  • BHP Lesson 23: Collective Learning

    We often teach dogs a few basic tricks: sit, stay, and fetch. However, have you ever seen dogs teach one another tricks? Dogs mimic behavior, but they can’t pass on new knowledge. If they could, we wouldn’t have to train them! Alphonse the Camel is back to co-host this episode on what makes collective learning uniquely human.


    Driving Question: What is collective learning?

    • Progress and…
    • 22 Apr 2020
  • BHP Lesson 22: Archaeology

    How can we know what happened millions of years ago if no one was there to see it? Today we’re going to be archaeologists! We’re going to investigate what the fossils of early peoples and the items they left behind can tell us about our early ancestors.


    Driving Question: What does archaeology reveal about our early ancestors?

    • How can we know what happened millions of years ago if no…
    • 21 Apr 2020
  • BHP Lesson 21: Early Human Ancestors

    Did we evolve from monkeys? In this lesson, we’ll investigate the key milestones in the evolution of our species, homo sapiens.


    Driving Question: How did our early ancestors evolve?

    • What is evolution? Did we evolve from monkeys? How much of our DNA do we share with chimpanzees? How can one species turn into another? These are questions that bombard my brain when I think of our early ancestors…
    • 20 Apr 2020