Captioned Photos by

Inaugural Conference

of the


Grand Rapids, MI (USA)

August 2012




       LEFT: David Christian introduces panel members of The Big History Project, which invites teachers in Australia, the USA, and elsewhere to develop a globally relevant "Big History" course for high school students. Thanks to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the course will be freely available online for teacher download, and will be translated into many languages.

RIGHT: Tracy Sullivan (Macquarie University) informs the Saturday morning plenary gathering of Big History Project enthusiasm and curriculum development in Australia.




LEFT: Cynthia Stokes Brown (co-founder of Big History general education at Dominican University of California) introduces the session, "Cosmic Education: Big History for the Elementary Child".

BELOW LEFT: Michael Duffy explains the Big History underpinnings of what Maria Montessori designed and called "Cosmic Education" in the early 20th century.

BELOW: Jennifer Morgan performs the Oxygen Crisis episode from her children's book trilogy, Born With a Bang, while Montessori teachers John Fowler and Michael Duffy look on.


BELOW: Walter Alvarez and Roland Saekow of the University of California at Berkeley introduce an online Big History tool for zooming in and out of an ever-updatable timeline of Big History: Chronozoom.

       LEFT: Four old friends (long-time contributors to "Epic of Evolution" awareness and creativity") wear their Big History Beads in 2012 at the inaugural conference of the International Big History Association, in Grand Rapids (Michigan). Left to right: Cathy Russell, Jon Cleland-Host, Connie Barlow, and Michael Dowd. All four gave presentations at the conference. Jon's illustrated talk was titled, "Big History Beads: A Flexible Pedagogical Method."

RIGHT: Jon Cleland-Host invites UC Berkeley geologist Walter Alvarez to sign the dinosaur-extinction bead on the set of "Big History Beads" he helped his 10-year-old nephew create.

Big History Beads

BELOW LEFT: Walter Alvarez, co-discoverer in 1980 of the meteor-impact theory of the dinosaur extinction, signs several tektite beads that Jon Cleland-Host will use on his own set of beads and those of his 4 sons and nephew. The "WA" signature is shown in the close-up of Jon's own set of Big History beads.

BELOW RIGHT: Jon presented his talk, "Big History Beads: A Flexible Pedagogical Method" as part of the "Big History and Education" panel series at the IBHA conference.


    SCROLL DOWN AT RIGHT    to view entire embedded webpage  . . .


           James Lu Dunbar, the author/artist of a 2-volume science comic book series, attended the IBHA event. Left is a video of how this series came to be.


           Betty-Ann Kissilove (far left) is the author of a beautifully illustrated and poetic telling of the Universe Story (below). In the photo at left she is with Larry Edwards (who presented on "Big History: A Worldview Revolution") and Jennifer Morgan (who presented a sample of her Big History storytelling at the "Cosmic Education" session).


           LEFT: Cathy Russell, designer and webmaster of the Epic of Evolution website (scroll illustration below) talks with a key originator of big history, David Christian. (Michael Dowd in good spirits behind the two.) Cathy's presentation at the conference was "Generous Genes and the Tree of Life."

RIGHT: Cathy Russell and Betty Kissilove in conversation with Jon Cleland-Host.



      Karen Kudebeh (photo LEFT), originator of the "We Belong" Timespirals, presented "We Belong — Time and Place Through the Eyes of Big History" at the IBHA conference. Her husband, Steve (below), managed the Timespirals table.


      Connie Barlow, originator of evolutionary parables (aka, "big history parables") called for 2 volunteers to perform a script by paleontologist Mark McMenamin, titled "The Lucky Little Seaweed". The play was performed at the IBHA conference as a lunch-time artistic presentation for the whole group. Connie (blue dress) is narrating the play at right.

   Click image at right to PLAY PARABLE EXCERPT.


BELOW: A dozen evolutionary parables can be freely downloaded at Use the scroll bar to peruse entire parables page.



Three 2013 VIDEO presentations by Big History Leaders

Bob Bain: "Teaching Big History"

David Christian: "The What and Why of Big History"

William Grassie: "Big History, Big Problems, Big Questions"

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