Why don't you just use:
numscens = Progression.find(:first, :condition => :id => params [:progressionid]), or even simpler: numscens = Progression.find(params[:progressionid])
I believe, inserting the params directly like that can make you open
for SQL injection attacks.
And then, to use it from there, just use: numscens.
If you want to make it available to your view, use: @numscens = .... then use <%= @numscens %> anywhere in your view