Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Predicting Future Evolution (Fall 2016)

Posted 10 Dec 2016 / 0

One of the activities that I regularly have my students complete in my Evolution course is called “Future Evolution“. The activity sends students on what most evolutionary biologists consider a fool’s errand: to try to predict the future evolution of some particular trait in some particular species. Making such predictions is really difficult for these basic reasons: Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Animal Domestication, Anthropogenic Change, Coevolution, Cultural Evolution, Evolution, Evolution Education, Human Evolution, Lesson Ideas, MSCI-260, Evolution, Prediction, Resistance Evolution in Parasites

Predicting Future Evolution (Spring 2016)

Posted 10 May 2016 / 0

One of the activities that I regularly have my students complete in my Evolution course is called “Future Evolution“. The activity sends students on what most evolutionary biologists consider a fool’s errand: to try to predict the future evolution of some particular trait in some particular species. Making such predictions is really difficult for these basic reasons: Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Animal Domestication, Anthropogenic Change, Coevolution, Cultural Evolution, Evolution, Evolution Education, Human Evolution, Lesson Ideas, MSCI-260, Evolution, Prediction, Resistance Evolution in Parasites

My new favorite concept mapping activity: depicting whole-system ecological flows

Posted 17 Jul 2015 / 0

Concept mapping is increasingly becoming an important part of my overall approach to teaching. I started out using it in my own research, and quickly realized how valuable it can be as a teaching tool. Because the only real goal of making a concept map is to explore and express understanding of a topic, concept Read More

A Major Post, Community Ecology, Competition, Concept Mapping, Ecology, Ecology Education, Ecosystem Ecology, Information Design, Interactions, Learning Management Systems, Lesson Ideas, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Mutualism, Predation, Teaching Tools

Basic instructions for making effective concept maps using VUE

Posted 29 Sep 2014 / 0

For years now I have been guiding my students through a variety of concept mapping activities. Almost every one of my classes involves at least one concept mapping assignment, and I now require that proposals for a variety of term papers and projects be presented in concept map form. I also created this guide to Read More

A Major Post, Concept Mapping, Information Design, Lesson Ideas, Teaching Tools

Evolution 2014: Want to teach both sides? Have your students deconstruct creationist propaganda!

Posted 22 Jun 2014 / 0

Patricia Hawley points out a great way that you can “teach both sides of the controversy” between evolution and intelligent design. In her Evolutionary Psychology course she has students deconstruct intelligent design propaganda, explaining where it makes erroneous arguments or misrepresents facts.

A Minor Post, Conferences, Creationism, Evolution Education, Higher Education, Lesson Ideas, Society for the Study of Evolution

Evolution 2014: Day 0

Posted 20 Jun 2014 / 0

I started off this year’s Evolution meeting early. The conference is — at its core —  a four-day affair. But the days leading into the “official” start on Friday evening feature larger workshops aimed at building skills. I chose to attend the Experiencing Evolution workshop. Here’s what this session promised: Evolution is a key biological concept, Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Assessment Methods, Behavior, Coevolution, Competition, Conferences, Cooperation, Evolution, Evolution Education, Evolutionary Modeling, Genetics, Grants & Funding, Higher Education, Individual-based Models, Lesson Ideas, Multilevel Selection, Natural Selection, Phylogenetics, Population Genetics, Population Growth, Predation, Reproductive Fitness, Science in Art & Design, Sex and Reproduction, Society for the Study of Evolution, Talks & Seminars, Teaching, Teaching Tools

Evolution 2014: Cooperative data collection is more meaningful than individual data collection

Posted 20 Jun 2014 / 0

Julie Noor’s classroom activity in Drosophila breeding points out a really great “best practice” for any data collection in undergraduate laboratory exercises: if you ask students to first interpret only the data they collected, then allow them to interpret the aggregated data of the whole class, you can allow them to see the importance of sample size. Read More

A Minor Post, Conferences, Evolution Education, Lesson Ideas, Natural Selection, Population Genetics, Society for the Study of Evolution, Teaching

Concept mapping as a creative tool

Posted 02 Nov 2012 / 2

If your brain is anything like mine, thoughts pretty much constantly race across it. As I consume media — especially media designed to inform — these thoughts intensify. As I read or listen or watch, my brain makes rapid connections between the new ideas I can recognize in the media I am consuming and the old Read More

A Major Post, Art & Design, Concept Mapping, Lesson Ideas, MSCI-160, Great Adventures in Evolution, Neuroscience, Pratt Institute

Online tools for teaching the basics of population growth

Posted 08 Sep 2011 / 5

WARNING: Unfortunately, the applets that I discuss below (“Otherwise”) no longer meet Java security specifications. As a result, they won’t work on computers with the most updated version of Java. Please see the other tools listed in the Comments section below as alternatives. I am still searching for the perfect user-friendly package to teach about Read More

Carrying Capacity, Ecological Modeling, Educational Software and Apps, Lesson Ideas, MSCI-270, Ecology, Population Growth, Teaching Tools

Easy-IPD version 1.0 released!

Posted 27 May 2011 / 3

After a full semester of development, including a round of in-classroom testing with real live Pratt undergraduates, I am proud to announce the release of the Easy Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma (Easy-IPD) interface, a free web-based teaching tool that allows students to experiment with this influential model of behavior. You can check out a slideshow of Read More

Cooperation, Easy Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma, Economics, Evolution Education, Game Theory, Lesson Ideas, Political Science, Reciprocity, Sociology, Teaching Tools