This semester, I’m taking a course called “Big History,” taught by Professor Frederick Paxton. We began the year by learning about the very first atom in the universe and how the complexity of life started to form only minutes after the Big Bang. We learned about the creation of new chemicals, planets and moons that formed just from complex chemicals and Goldilocks Conditions. Plot twist: eight weeks later we are deep in the throws of human history and studying the Agricultural Revolution.
“Big History” is a ConnCourse, one of the newly designed classes at Conn
that make up the Connections curriculum. The curriculum, as well as the course, aims to integrate multiple subjects in new ways. By drawing connections between history and science, our class is starting to piece together different aspects of life. I enrolled in this ConnCourse because I’m really interested in history, but I also like physics and I get to learn about both in one class!
My favorite part of the class is the homework, seriously. Once a month Professor Paxton assigns us a writing assignment on any New York Times article we choose. The article must be a relatively new post on something related to what we are learning about. In the earlier stages of the class, it was easy to find articles about the cosmos and life on other planets. Now it’s a little bit trickier because there isn’t as much new research on the emergence of human life. These assignments challenge our class to draw connections between what happened billions of years ago to new findings. It just goes to show you that history is always connected to research even in today’s world!