Professional Development Program

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 organized 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.

Introductory Track


Instructor files
   Module 1 Presentation  
   Forest fire inquiry  
   Forest fire data analysis handout  
   Flipping pennies simulation  


Participant files
   Fire graphing Excel file  
   Forest fire  
   Flipping pennies spreadsheet  


Instructor files
Lesson 1: Deriving a Mathematical Model: An Experimental and Virtual Approach via Spreadsheets
   Presentation: Deriving a Mathematical Model  
   Deriving a Mathematical Model  
Lesson 2: Turning Multivariable Models into Interactive Animated Simulations
   Presentation: Turning Multivariable Models into Interactive Animated Simulations  
   Presentation: Turning Multivariable Models into Interactive Animated Simulations  


Participant files
   Cooling down a cup of coffee  
   Stacking cups  
   Interpolation and extrapolation handout  


Instructor files
   Presentation: Introduction to systems modeling  
   Moose model handout   
   Moosemodel presenter guide   
   Systems handout   
Participant files
   Bounded growth  
   Exponential decay  
   Predator and prey  
   Projectile motion  
   Vertical spring  



Instructor files
   Presentation: What is the best tool?  
   Comparing three models   
   Comparison guide for facilitators   
   The enzyme model   


Participant files
   Enzyme – mdl  
   Enzyme NetLogo  
   Enzyme loop  
   Enzyme model xls  
   Free fall mdl  
   Free fall NetLogo  
   Free fall worksheet  
   Mouse owl NetLogo  
   Mouse owl worksheet  
   Tailgate mdl  
   Tailgate NetLogo  
   Tailgate worksheet  



Instructor files
   Presentation: What’s out there  
   Masses and springs  
   From Simple to Complex   



Depth Track


Instructor files
   Developing Systems Models in Excel   



Instructor files
   Developer Guidelines   


Participant files
   Capstone project  
   Modeling tools  



Modeling software

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



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.