The spirit of collaboration in the classroom lifts up the weaker students, and the stronger students enjoy demonstrating their skills by doing work on the SMART Board and/or helping other classmates solve problems.
Anupama Benegal | High School Science Teacher | Trenton Central High School
Pam Benegal is a high school physics teacher at Trenton Central High School’s 9th grade Academy in Trenton, NJ. In addition to being certified to teach biology, Pam is a graduate of the PSI physics teacher endorsement program. She worked closely with other teachers in her district to create the opportunity for all 9th grade students at her school to take algebra-based physics, beginning in the 2014-15 school year.
What can you share about your experiences with PSI?
My experience with PSI, both my own training as well as teaching PSI-Physics, has been very positive. The training thoroughly covered both content and pedagogy, and the support that I got in my first year of teaching was excellent. This is my second year teaching PSI-Physics and I hope I never have to teach anything else. My students genuinely enjoy it. They can’t wait to get through the direct instruction part of the lesson so they can get started on problem solving. The spirit of collaboration in the classroom lifts up the weaker students, and the stronger students enjoy demonstrating their skills by doing work on the SMART Board and/or helping other classmates solve problems. Students that took the class before routinely come back to tell me how much they miss the class. I can’t think of a better endorsement than that!
How are teachers using the many resources provided by PSI?
I use all of the resources provided by PSI. I loosely follow the unit plan, provide the students with copies of the presentation, classwork/homework problems, and multiple choice questions. I also use all of the assessments and grading rubrics provided by PSI.
How did you learn about PSI?
I learned about PSI and PMI after my school district decided to change the science curriculum to allow the students to take physics in their freshman year. We became involved with CTL since we did not have enough certified physics teachers to accommodate the number of students.
What is the most positive outcome you have seen with your implementation of PSI?
While there are many positives I could mention, the most significant outcome is student engagement.
What do students think of PSI and why?
My students love PSI-Physics. At first they are very intimidated by the amount of math involved, but since there is a lot of scaffolding built into the instruction (how to rearrange equations, etc) they quickly become comfortable with it. Pacing is determined by the ability of the students. There are numerous practice problems and we go through as many as needed for the students to master the concepts. They also enjoy the technology – the smartboard and responders. They love coming up to the board to solve problems and enjoy using the clickers to record their answers. They also enjoy looking at the class results to see what percentage answered correctly and will try and analyze why some students may have answered incorrectly (“That person forgot to square root!” or “They forgot to convert cm into meters!”).
What do parents think of PSI-PMI and why?
Parents are always surprised how much their children enjoy physics. One parent told me that her child had always hated math and how surprised she was at how well her child was doing in physics and how much she was enjoying it.