CMIST (Computational Modules in Science Teaching, pronounced see-mist) is an innovative outreach program of the National Resource for Biomedical Supercomputing (NRBSC) at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. The goal of the CMIST program is to integrate the STEM disciplines into secondary school classrooms. In contrast to other teaching tools, CMIST’s realistic 3D simulations are extrapolated from current textbook examples, and modules are distributed on the CMIST website. They include interactive slide lectures and embedded simulations, lesson plans aligned to federal educational standards, worksheets with answer keys, and feedback forms for teachers. Thus, CMIST modules are intended to be used “out of the box” in any science or technology class. The goal is a transformational improvement in student understanding and retention of complex multidisciplinary material.
CMIST subject material is chosen to highlight critical concepts that are difficult to convey with static textbook images and words; for example, cellular transport of molecules by diffusion and osmosis, or the structure and function of enzymes in cells. The CMIST modules bring a visually-engaging but highly accurate view of biological and medical function into the classroom, providing an easy means to improve student understanding and retention of complex multidisciplinary material.
CMIST modules will provide critical professional development for teachers and will equip students to graduate with knowledge and skills needed to be productive members of society and compete for 21st century jobs in the evolving global economy.