Design Principles

Putting our ESD Design Concept into action requires more fine grained Design Principles.

We work with the following 8 design principles to guide the development of teaching tools and the design of units for real world classrooms aiming to help students draw connections across human evolution, behavioral ecology, and sustainability science.

Emphasis on capacity and conditions for positive behavioral phenomena at multiple levels of social organization relevant to valued sustainability outcomes (e.g. Altruism/Prosociality/Cooperation, Sense of Purpose, Curiosity and Creativity, Teaching and Learning, Empathy, Compassion, Perspective Taking, Cognitive and Behavioral Flexibility, Self-Regulation, Prevention)

Use of diverse multi-modal teaching tools to support embodied cognition of abstract concepts in human evolution and behavioral ecology (e.g. analogies, narratives, cooperation experiments, classroom games, NetLogo, Ancient Ancestor's Skull Lab). Explicit engagement of students in understanding the nature of embodied cognition through exploring the evolutionary-developmental origins of everyday experience in relation to scientific conceptions.

Iterative use of causal maps, computer simulations, and other teaching tools to illustrate complex systems dynamics and interactions across levels of organization in biology and society. Utilize the complexity of causal factors in the evolution of human behavior as a foundation for exploring the sub-disciplines of biology, for connecting and exploring causality at different levels of organization, as well as for connecting biology to other disciplines focused on the human condition.

Use of Tinbergen’s questions and Tinbergen's table (Tinbergen's questions across levels of organization) for organizing complex causality and behavioral science content to support implicit or explicit evolution and behavior education. Use of Tinbergen’s table to support educators in cross-content area collaborations and curriculum design.

Explicitly reflecting on analogical transfer of behavior and cognition in complex evolutionary systems, e.g. through comparisons across content anchors by use of scaffolded analogy maps and other teaching tools. Employing biological conceptions of cooperation and sustainability as higher-level points of transfer to encapsulate and contextualize systems thinking frameworks such as NGSS Cross-Cutting Concepts, or the German Basiskonzepte and Erschließungsfelder.

6. Learning as Content

Explicit use of the school learning context as content for learning about human evolution, behavior, and cognition. Explicit engagement of students and teachers in research on learning difficulties and teaching strategies in human evolution and behavior, from evolutionary perspectives on development and social cognition. This includes scaffolding student conceptions on the evolution of teaching and learning, as well as modern research and development questions in global education discourse.

7. Sociology as Content

Explicit engagement of students and teachers in exploring the sociology of beliefs regarding human evolution as well as the causes and solutions to modern sustainability problems. Focusing both on everyday conceptions and scientific discourse on the nature of science, humans, and society.

8. Intergenerational Projects

Intergenerational teaching as authentic service-learning context for citizen science on teaching human evolution, behavioral ecology, and sustainability science. Students investigate how younger children can understand perspectives in the evolution of cooperation through citizen science projects.

Contanct Us if you are intested in integrating any of these design principles in your teaching practice.