Sep 122013


Using a critical reading exercise and discussion, students will explore the perceptions and realities of sex differences in behavior, the causes of these differences. They will then use spotted hyenas, an unusual African mammal with a primate-like social system, to explore how scientists learn about individual and sex differences in aggressive behavior. The lesson will end with an activity that allows students to act as behavioral researchers. The lesson can be divided into three portions which can easily be made to stand alone, so teachers can do any and all portions as time permits.

At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Read science presented in the media with a critical eye
  • Consider the causes of variation in animal and human aggression
  • Become more familiar how scientists study behavior
  • Learn about current research in spotted hyena behavior


Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellow Sarah Jones, 2013