Classroom Materials

Evolution on the Computer

Quick overview

We develop computer simulations with the free modelling software NetLogo.

In the links below you can find a number of scaffolded models which we use to develop lessons on the evolution of cooperation and sustainable resource use.

We are working to develop more comprehensive lesson guides on the use of these models, however we offer the basic resources now for interested educators who want to try it out.

Feel free to contact us with questions or ideas for linking NetLogo and sustainability science in your classroom or school!

Netlogo GUI Intro

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Models and classroom materials

Two foresters

This model lets us explore the basics of social interactions in a resource use scenario.

Evolution and competition for resources

These models let us explore what happens when agent behaviors have outcomes for their reproductive success. It makes us ask: If the greedy guys always take over, how can sustainable resource use evolve in a population?


More abstract:

Island World

This model introduces population dynamics in a structured world. It lets us explore some conditions under which groups of sustainable resource users can do better than, and eventually outcompete, groups of greedy guys. But it still makes us ask: How can these groups of sustainable guys protect themselves from take-over by cheaters from within?

Evolution, resources, monitoring and punishment

This model lets us explore how the appearance of certain social behaviors can affect evolutionary population dynamics. If greedy guys are noticed and kept at bay by being punished for their behavior, they are prevented from taking over the population.

In fact, monitoring of behaviors and the existence of graduated sanctioning mechanisms are also important elements of governance in the sustainable use of common pool resources.