Innovative Approaches to STEM Education

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center Summer Institute

July 6 – 17, 2015

The need for multidisciplinary skilled personnel is growing, with lucrative, secure careers in these areas on a steady rise. At the high school level students get very limited exposure, if any, to multidisciplinary concepts, where the focus is frequently on teaching to achieve success on standardized tests. To address these issues, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) is pleased to offer this two week professional development program for STEM teachers that will present two distinct but related approaches:

  • Inquiry Based Science (Using computational models/simulations to extend student understanding of the processes and theories of science)
  • BEST (Bioinformatics Education for Science Teachers)

The Inquiry Based Science workshop (July 6-7) will examine the relationship between laboratory experiments, computational models and scientific theory. Workshop participants will first perform a hands-on activity or examine data relevant to a high school science topic. Participants will next explore a readily available model or simulation to expand understanding of the topic and encourage discussion. Finally, they will use their experiences to explore the scientific concept or theory illustrated by the experiment and model. A constructivist or inquiry approach will be modeled throughout the workshop. Participants will be encouraged to share how they might modify their instructional approach to encourage deeper understanding and mastery of the topic by their students.

The BEST workshop (July 8 – 17) will present an introductory high school level curriculum in bioinformatics, fortified with lesson plans, developed by PSC. Since 2009 ten Pittsburgh school districts have been offering this curriculum to their high school students. Teachers will be trained using the “teach-back” technique. This training is critical to equip single subject teachers to address and teach multidisciplinary concepts in bioinformatics. This technique will serve a dual purpose – firstly, it will fortify the teacher with all the needed multidisciplinary content knowledge, and secondly, it will develop feedback and evaluation strategies as the lessons progress.

Please bring a working laptop or similar device where you can use Word processing, Power Point, access the Internet and download materials. A tablet or cell phone will not fulfill this purpose.

The workshop will be held at:
Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center
300 South Craig Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

In addition to instructional materials, presentations and individual lab time, participants will receive:
ACT 48 credits
$500 stipend for full 2 week participation
$10/day parking subsidy
Lunch each day

Register now  

Space for the 2015 Summer Institute is limited.  To register for the summer program, please visit


Contact if you have any questions.