Penn State Math Students Lend a Hand


photo courtesy of Caleb Marasco

Students from the math education program at PSU University Park were guests in TAHS math classes. Front Row: Caleb Marasco, Austin Perkosky Back Row: Bailey Messelman, Jess Heckler, Kelsey Morris, Spenser Bevins, Anthony Zhang, Laryssa Tricou, Dr. Heid Missing from photo: Mathew Black

Eight Penn State junior secondary math education students and one graduate student from the University Park campus assisted math teachers in five Tyrone High School math classes on March 26.

The students were from the PSU Noyce Scholar Program and came to lend a hand in classes. They were hoping to gain experience in the classroom while also helping the community of Tyrone High.

According to the program website, each Noyce Scholar graduates with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a bachelors degree in secondary education (mathematics) or a master’s degree in mathematics education. The program is technology-intensive and includes tutoring of students from high-need schools in an Upward Bound program or a second-language learning program, experience in designing and teaching sequences of lessons in high-need rural or urban schools, participation in seminars that focus on place-based teaching in high-need schools, and student teaching in a high-need school.

This allows me to see how the math I am learning at Penn State transfers to the classroom. It also gives me experience assisting students.”

— PSU student Jess Heckler

The students in the program came up with the idea to volunteer time in secondary math classes and junior Caleb Marasco suggested that they go to Tyrone. Marasco is Tyrone math teacher Michele Marasco’s son.

The visit was outside of the usual pre-student teaching model where the college students just observe teachers. This experience gave the college students the opportunity to work more directly with high school students before they start their formal student teaching experiences next fall.

“This allows me to see how the math I am learning at Penn State transfers to the classroom,” says Jess Heckler, a student attending Penn State. “It also gives me experience assisting students.”

From calculus to algebra classes, the math majors provided assistance during sixth through eighth period.

According to math teacher Mrs. Marasco, having the extra help in the classroom was a huge benefit.”It was very helpful having others in the room to help answer questions,” said Marasco. “It gave all the students more one-on-one time with the teacher.”

Teachers are usually bombarded with questions after difficult lessons and have a hard time answering each one, so having multiple people there was useful to both the students and teachers.

“Mrs. Marasco’s son was very nice and helpful,” said junior Megan Dale.

The visit also helped the Penn State students get excited about their career choice.

“I knew I always wanted to be a teacher. I started out thinking elementary education, but my math teacher in high school really inspired me, so I later switched and now I want to teach high school,” said Heckler. “I enjoyed math and liked tutoring it to my friends, so that also helped me decide to be a math major.”