Evolution in Action! Workshop Activities

The following exercises teach the fundamentals of thinking like a computer by having you outline or act out algorithms in the classroom. This workshop will encourage you to think logically and computationally, teaching you how to solve problems without actually using a computer!  We’ll all play together, get ready to have some fun with other participants.

Stay Between

You become the algorithm in an ice-breaker game called Stay Between. Learn and experience how simple rules can create chaotic and complex systems, just like in the biology of evolution.

You Choose

In the game You Choose, you will take a piece of your favorite candy to explore why certain flavors or colors are more appealing than others given limited resources. What did other kids choose? This simple game mirrors themes within evolutionary biology and shows how limited resources impact a desired outcome.

Prisoner’s Dilemma

Exploring game theory or strategic decision making, this dilemma will lead you to analyze decisions made in uncertain situations. In Prisoner’s Dilemma, two guilty people are being sentenced to jail, but they can protect themselves at the expense of the other. What would you do if you were one of the prisoners? Would you cooperate with your partner or protect yourself? Similarly, competition and cooperation are topics in evolution. It’s common to see organisms working in cooperation for mutual benefit, which is often the best strategy for success as a species. With a partner, you will play and find out!

Repeated Prisoner’s Dilemma

The Repeated Prisoner’s Dilemma shows you how strategies change when playing the Prisoner’s Dilemma several times. In this second stage, you can use different strategies in each new game.  See if you can get the best result by changing your strategy for each round.

Evolutionary Repeated Prisoner’s Dilemma

In the 3rd stage of this exercise, everyone explores the dilemma together. You switch partners after 5 games. Try thinking backwards to come up with the best strategy! This game encourages you to think logically by coming to a solution following pre-planned steps. Act through the steps of the simulation of evolution, using past experience to determine the best strategy.

The Mating Game

The Mating Game is an interactive group activity that helps show how partners pick each other in Nature. To model the complex relationship between attraction and fitness, act out the search for a partner who will help your children be strongs. It is important to notice that it is not always the fit animal that gets to survive; sometimes it is the most attractive animal.


Click the TRON tab to play TRON. Help us evolve our evolutionary algorithm by playing TRON. The game learns every time you play!


Want to bring Evolution in Action! to your school or group? Contact us at for details!