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Educational innovation and design-based research

Learning about the origins and diversity of humanity can be deeply meaningful for students, providing a rich landscape of educational opportunities. Insights from the interdisciplinary field of evolutionary anthropology allow students to better understand themselves, their fellow humans, our human-made world, and their ability to shape our world towards a preferred future.

This is why our department is committed to making the insights of evolutionary anthropology accessible and relevant to the general public. We are approaching this aim through a strategic and cooperative effort to advance new interdisciplinary approaches integrating evolution, behavior, and sustainability science across the education spectrum, from primary school through graduate education, including the development of novel programs at the Wolfgang Köhler Primate Research Centre

Our educational innovation coordinator, Dustin Eirdosh, along with guest scientist, Susan Hanisch, as well as other research scientists in our department and institute, work together with a growing network of educational organizations, institutions, and professionals to support direct engagement with local and international classrooms. Our central focus is on the development of scientific infrastructure to empower educators in teaching the latest scientific perspectives in our field. 


Coordinated by Alex Sanchez and Dustin Eirdosh, with resources and classroom sessions led by a wide range of interdisciplinary CCP researchers and guests. We explore theory and methods in comparative cultural psychology, looking at the cognitive origins of culture, as well as the cultural origins of cognition, across species, as well as human development and culture. This module is offered to University of Leipzig MSc Psychology students during Summer Semester 2022.

Evolving an open, networked, and interdisciplinary evolution and sustainability education research community

We are scientistsartiststeachers, and students working together to reimagine and cultivate a new direction for evolution and sustainability education. We believe interdisciplinary perspectives in evolutionary anthropology can serve as a foundation for  understanding and valuing the science of evolutionary change in our everyday lives and global societyJoin us!

Learn more on our project website: http://openevo.eva.mpg.de and on the OpenEvo Learning Hub: https://openevo-learninghub.eva.mpg.de/ 

Our Teacher's Guide

Our Teacher's Guide to Evolution, Behavior, and Sustainability Science provides educators with an interdisciplinary road map to understanding the origins, development, and flexibility of our uniquely elaborated human capacities to cooperate around things that matter. The guide is a fun and resource-packed document that can help teachers from across traditional subject areas come together around understanding what makes us human, and how our understanding of our species impacts our views on social change and the challenges of planetary sustainability. 


Download the guide from OpenEvo:


Educational Development Projects and Networks

Our educational development work includes the direct coordination and indirect support for a range of interdisciplinary projects and networks, unified by the common thread of understanding the human condition. 

Featured Partnerships

Global ESD works internationally to support Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) initiatives that connect concepts in human evolution, behavior, and sustainability science. By linking scientific perspectives on social change with students and classrooms seeking to make the world a better place, our aim is to foster a more global discussion about where we are going in the light of where we all have come from. 


As the German sister organization of Global ESD, EvoLeipzig is a place-based initiative that works with local school partners to help teachers in Leipzig use the educational innovations we are developing around the science of evolutionary anthropology


The development of teacher competencies is a central focus of our educational development efforts. For this reason, our on-going collaborations with the University of Leipzig provide a critically important opportunity for supporting the next generation of educators in understanding the learning potential of the interdisciplinary human sciences within our Max Planck Institute. 

Primary School Science Education
Center for Teacher Training and School Research

Biology education plays a central role in supporting the educational innovations we are advancing. In this context, we are collaborating with the biology education group of Prof. Dr. Uwe Hoßfeld at the Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena, Germany.

Prosocial World is a global community of scientists and community leaders working to advance an applied science of cooperation grounded in an evolutionary understanding of human behavior. Prosocial Schools a global community of youth, parents, educators, and applied researchers working to apply the science of Prosocial World in the schools and classrooms that we are apart of. 


Ancient Ancestors is a US-based educational outreach project co-founded by Dr. Chris Bayer and Michael Luberda, Ancient Ancestors works internationally to support innovative directions in human evolution education through the development of hands-on classroom labs that make use of museum quality and 3D printed homid fossil replicas to engage students in understanding diverse, and in many cases, competing ideas on the origins of our species.  Ancient Ancestors has been instrumental in developing our departments growing collection and classroom usage of hominid fossil replicas.