Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Evolution of Sex student work

EvSex Header 2010

Midterm Paper
An important component of scientific literacy is understanding how the scientific method works. It is easy to read scientific ‘facts’ and ‘theories’ without understanding how those facts were generated or how those theories gained acceptance. Halfway through this class my students have learned a lot about how various modes of sexual reproduction have evolved, so for their midterm assignment I ask them to investigate their own question about the evolution of sexual reproduction using the scientific method as their guide. Each student poses a question, and then uses research to investigate feasible hypotheses that might answer that question. If these hypotheses have generated predictions that have been tested, the student can report on these tests and their findings. If these hypotheses have not been tested, the student can discuss how differing predictions might be tested by future research.

The guidelines for this assignment can be found here.

Below are some of the best student Midterm Papers I have received, downloadable as PDF’s:

Why do male … dolphins engage in socio-sexual behavior? © Sophie Morris (Fall 2013)
Why do male Manakins lek together? © Carina Liebmann (Fall 2012)

Incidentally, if you are a current student in my Evolution of Sex class, the topics above are off limits for your Midterm Paper.

Final Project
At the very end of the semester, I ask my students to consider how an understanding of evolved sexual and/or reproductive characteristics can influence the direction of creative works. Students create their own works designed to illustrate, portray, and/or incorporate ideas and concepts learned in or related to the class. I am very open to any medium, and encourage students to think broadly about what constitutes a “creative work”. Many students use the research they performed for their Midterm Paper as the basis for their Final Project.

The guidelines for this assignment can be found here.

Below are some of the best student Final Projects I have received, downloadable as PDF’s:

“Human Bowers” © Sophie Morris (Fall 2013)
“Multiple Expressions of Gender in Organism Sexes” © Lizy Brautigam (Fall 2013)
“Gorilla Love Poems” © Jennifer Tripp (Fall 2013)
Untitled © Adrianne Elmy (Fall 2012)
“The Meaning of the Mane” © Andrea Racine (Fall 2012)
Untitled © Amelia Merrill (Fall 2012)
Sehancium Ad series © Taylor Simpson (Fall 2012)
The Red Queen © Uriah Voth (Fall 2012)
Bowerbird Online Dating Profile © Cara Lampron (Fall 2012)
“Variety Works” © Carina Liebmann (Fall 2012)
Bellua troglodytes © Jared Schwartz (Fall 2012)
“The Congo River Times” © Bridget Collins (Spring 2011)
“The Lion King versus Reality” © Lexy Dag (Spring 2011)
“Rings against Darwin’s Theory of Sexual Selection” © Ashley Landon (Spring 2011)
“Sex Appeal” © Kristie Lee (Spring 2011)
“The Rift” © Adam Miller (Spring 2011)
“Accu-Ovo/Ovo-Check” © Conor Nolan (Spring 2011)
Reproductive Errors Infographic © Gregory Pietrycha (Spring 2011)
“Strangelove: Animals Do It Better” © Haleigh Rucinski (Spring 2011)

Below is a gallery of the work students have completed for this assignment:


You can click on each of the images above to see the work in more detail. The description for each image also includes a link to the Project Summary that accompanies the work.

All of this work is used with permission of the students who produced it. Please respect the intellectual property rights of these students by not using their work without their permission. If you would like to contact any of the students who produced this work, contact me.