Bybee to kickoff 'Big Idea Seminars'

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Bybee to kickoff ‘Big Idea Seminars’

The Agricultural Research Division’s “Big Idea Seminars” will kickoff Feb. 19 with a “Building Science Literacy through Engagement in Community and Environmental Stewardship” presentation by Rodger Bybee.

Bybee, chair of the Science Forum and Science Expert Group for the Next Generation Sciences Standards, will present on science education initiatives that emphasize the effective management of food, water and natural resources.

His presentation will be from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Nebraska Union. The ARD’s seminar series builds big ideas and collaborations among faculty members not only at UNL, but across all University of Nebraska campuses.

“The primary goal of this Big Idea Seminar is to create a community of research and practice that brings together multiple partners around the theme of science literacy and community and environment stewardship,” said Tonia Durden, assistant professor, child, youth and family studies at UNL, who helped organize the seminar. “We will be building upon the national science agenda and the applied research being conducted across the state, university system and (UNL) Research and Extension Centers by faculty.”

Bybee will introduce strategies for strengthening science literacy, improving PK-12 instruction and enhancing family engagement in science learning among children and youth.

Participatory spotlight sessions preceding the presentation starting at 1 p.m. will give attendees the opportunity to discuss informal science education, early childhood education, the role of rural family-school partnerships and more.

Bybee served as executive director of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study from 1999 to 2007, where he was principal investigator for four National Science Foundation programs.

Prior to joining BSCS, he worked as executive director of the National Research Council’s Center for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Education. Bybee has also served on advisory boards and committees for the National Academies, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation and the American Institute of Biological Sciences.

Bybee’s primary professional interests have included scientific literacy, scientific inquiry, the design and development of school science curriculum, the role of policy in science education and international assessments. He has a doctorate degree from New York University and earned his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Northern Colorado.

For a link to watch this seminar live or for more information about the ARD’s Big Idea Seminars, including the Family Showcase scheduled for April 15, go to

Durden said their goals for families include increasing science literacy and children and youth’s interests in science and being scientists. The Family Showcase April 15 will reach these goals by demonstrating successful approaches to enhancing science literacy through curricula and showcasing family activities involving science activities, she said.

The ARD’s Big Idea Seminar series is in the university’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The series is co-sponsored by the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies; College of Education and Human Sciences; Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools; and UNL Extension.

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