Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center 

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communications and data analytics.


Professional Development Program

Search the CAST Professional Development Program modules

The CAST Professional Development Program is an integrated set of modules to train teachers on how to incorporate computational reasoning and tools, such as modeling and simulation, into their middle and high school math and science curriculum. The modules are in two tracks:

  • The introductory track is a set of modules that focuses on how to use models and simulations that already exist and are available over the internet, with enough understanding about how such models work to know how to use them effectively in the classroom.
  • The depth track is a set of modules that provides more in-depth understanding and hands-on experience with the different modeling tools. This track is intended for new CAST PDP trainers and also teachers who desire a deeper understanding of the tools.

Modeling software

The models are built in one of three software packages: Vensim PLE, NetLogo, and Excel.

You must download Vensim PLE (free for educators) to run the .mdl files:

You must download NetLogo (freeware) to run the .nlogo files.

Introductory Track

Module 0: Introduction to CAST Professional Development Program
Module 1: Introduction to Computational Reasoning
Module 2A: Introduction to Mathematical Models Using Excel
Lesson 1 - Deriving a Mathematical Model: An Experimental and Virtual
Approach via Spreadsheets
Lesson 2 - Turning Multivariable Models into Interactive Animated Simulations
Module 2B: Introduction to Agent Modeling
Module 2C: Introduction to Systems Modeling
Module 3: Comparing Model Environments
Module 4: Models in the Classroom: What's Out There and How to use Them in Your Curriculum


Useful Sites Recommended by Workshop Participants

Interactive sites using modeling and other simulation-type activities:

HHMI Biointeractive site (great Virtual Labs): http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive

Nobel Prize (educational games/simulations): http://www.nobelprize.org/educational

i-Biology (good list of available simulations): http://i-biology.net/ict-in-ib-biology/modeling-simulation

Weather: http://profhorn.meteor.wisc.edu/wxwise/html5only.html

Math: http://phet.colorado.edu/sims/calculus-grapher/calculus-grapher_en.html



PSC comparing the modeling tools:

Depth Track

Module 5A: More on Interactive Animated Excel
Module 5B: Advanced NetLogo
Module 5C: More on Systems Models with Vensim
Module 6: Time-Based Models in Excel
Module 7: Developer's Reference Set
The CAST Professional Development Program is supported by the DSF Charitable Foundation, the Frick Fund of the Buhl Foundation, and the Grable Foundation. All modules and materials are copyright of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and are available online as an Open Education Resource.