Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PTEC)

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Project Status:

Current Project

Posted on:

03/24/2011 - 3:45pm

The UNI Physics Department is home to a highly successful Physics Resources and Instructional Strategies for Motivating Students (PRISMS) program – a high school physics curriculum and professional development that utilizes a learning cycle pedagogy (  The PRISMS curriculum and learning cycle pedagogy have been used extensively in teacher preparation and professional development.  PRISMS originated here in 1982 under the leadership of Roy Unruh and Tim Cooney.  The original PRISMS materials were a collection of 130 high interest activities related to the real-life experiences of high school physics students designed to develop student conceptual understanding and to cultivate student scientific reasoning and problem skills.  The PRISMS materials have been available to a few thousand teachers in almost all 50 states and all over the world through workshops at professional conferences from a variety of funding sources including the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education.


The PRISMS curriculum was enhanced and revised by Timothy Cooney, Lawrence Escalada, and Roy Unruh in collaboration with master high school physics teachers with funding from the National Science Foundation to make it more consistent with the recommendations of the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996).  The enhanced version called PRISMS PLUS is available in electronic format from the UNI Physics Department.  PRISMS and Modeling Instruction (Hestenes, 1987) provides the pedagogies for many of the UNI Physics Education professional development programs.  See