This course will explore a selection of the main theoretical ideas and methods of the scientific study of animal behavior. We will explore functional and evolutionary bases of animal behavior, but will focus in detail on animal senses, which we will learn about through reading the new book "An Immense World." While reading this book, each student will delve into one aspect in detail, creating a “Behavior Explainer” in a modality of their choice, which they will present to the rest of the class. In the last month of class, students will put into practice some of the ways that scientists observe, record and measure behavior in the natural world, through hands on work at the Hampshire farm. The final hands on research project at the farm will be written up in the form of a scientific paper, and presented to the rest of the class. Students are expected to both lead and be active participants in class discussions, and to prepare written responses to readings.

Major goals of the course are to learn 1) basic principles of animal behavior; 2) about animal senses; 3) how to read scientific literature; 4) how to lead a class discussion; and 4) how to carry out a research project from start to finish: conceiving of the idea, developing methods, implementing experiments, analyzing data, and writing up results. Other goals are to instill excitement and curiosity about the subject, and to provide conceptual foundations and intellectual tools to think creatively and critically about animal behavior and science in general.