Welcome to The BIG Lesson Programs

The BIG Lesson was initiated in 1999 by Margaret Holtschlag, Michigan Teacher of the Year 1999-2000 as (1) a professional development model for immersion learning; (2) a study trip for students, parents, and teachers, and; (3) a partnership between community resources and mid-Michigan schools. BIG Lesson programs are happening at community sites in Lansing, Kalamazoo, Jackson, Dryden, Marshall, Ann Arbor, and Battle Creek, Michigan.

In the BIG Lesson model, students, teachers, and parents use community resources as their classroom for a week. Changing the concept of the traditional field trip to a week-long interdisciplinary study trip, this experience includes investigations, behind-the-scenes tours, presentations by community experts, and groups of students working cooperatively on research. Parents are actively involved in the learning activities as well as student service projects. Culminations of the week are service learning activities, research projects, and community action plans.

Teachers receive extensive training in The BIG Lesson model to learn about integrated curriculum, lesson design, place-based education, cooperative research, scientific inquiry and content, visual note-taking, thematic instruction, and identification of community resources. Teachers continue this professional development throughout the school year with workshops and online discussions to share resources and lesson plans.

** Annie's BIG Nature Lesson at Woldumar, Harris, Bengel, Fenner, and Lincoln Brick nature centers in Lansing, Kalamazoo Nature Center in Kalamazoo, Dahlem Conservancy in Jackson, Seven Ponds Nature Center in Dryden, Wilder Creek Conservation Club in Marshall, and Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor.

** The BIG Zoo Lesson at Potter Park Zoo in Lansing and Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek

** The BIG History Lesson at Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing and at Meridian Historic Village in Okemos

** The BIG Science Lesson at Impression 5 Museum in Lansing

For more information about The BIG Lesson Programs, contact:
Margaret Holtschlag, Director of The BIG Lesson Programs, Clinton County RESA, 1013 S. US27, Suite A, St. Johns, MI 48879. Phone: 517-230-8268. Email: biglesson@gmail.com.