Design Principles

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

Focus on the aspects and everyday experience of human behaviors relevant to human well-being and sustainable development (eg, prosociality, cooperation, sense of belonging, curiosity and creativity, learning and teaching, empathy and compassion, sense of fairness, perspective taking, flexibility, self-control, goals and values, health, prevention). Focusing on human behaviors helps students relate to and understand the causes of biological and societal phenomena.

Explore and reflect on the many causes and consequences of human behavior and on the complex causal relationships in human evolution, behavior, and social-ecological systems: How do immediate internal and external factors, as well as individual development and evolutionary history, function as causes of human behavior? Why do these mechanisms and patterns of behavior exist compared to other possibilities? What consequences do behaviors have for individuals and their environment, in the short-term and in the long-term? Diverse teaching tools such as causal maps and payoff matrices help in reflecting on these questions. Exploring complex causality helps students understand and relate causal factors in the emergence of human behaviors.

Teach for Transfer

Ensure students can transfer understandings to novel phenomena, everyday experience and relevant problems of sustainable development across multiple scales and contexts of global society, with the help of analogies, analogy maps, and other teaching tools. Teaching for transfer requires the iterative exploration of diverse human behaviors and contexts.