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Rosa teacher wins $25,000 cash prize

One Cherry Hill teacher has brought his math lessons to a whole new audience.

That is, the national classroom.

Scott Goldthorp, a Rosa International Middle School math and science teacher, recently received the $25,000 Rosenthal Prize for Innovation in Math Teaching from the Museum of Mathematics in New York City.

He has been at the school since October 2007, when he was accepted for an educational assistant position.

At a Board of Education meeting, he was recognized for the accomplishment.

“I had substitute taught before and wanted to get my foot in the door to get a teaching job,” said Goldthorp, who was an alternate route teacher.

Soon, he worked his way to his current post.

To him, math seemed fun growing up.

“I was always interested in it as a student,” he said, noting, in particular, his affinity for problem solving.

His goal in the classroom is to break down concepts into pieces that are understandable for students.

“I try to have all of my lessons have some type of real world aspect build in or used as the core of the lesson,” he said.

Goldthorp also holds a master’s in science degree.

In his sixth-grade combined math and science course, there is a ton of math, he said.

Science, he said, gives math purpose and a reason to learn procedures.

“I really try to incorporate that into the lessons,” he said.

Math is not just learning a skill to learn another skill, he explained.

He teaches three sections of seventh-grade math as well.

“I love being a math and science teacher,” he said.

The main focus of the lesson that won the prize, he said, was statistical analysis.

“I had students cover their hands in fingerprint and stand and make a hand print on (char paper on) the wall,” he said.

Then, the students would jump, making another handprint.

From there, it was time to measure the distance between the standing and jumping handprints and analyze the centimeter differences.

The lesson, he said, engaged students, helping them to learn math by becoming a clear part of the process.

Any teachers across the country that are interested in acquiring his lesson can do so through the Museum of Mathematics, he said.

According to the museum’s website, the plans will be available later this year.

Goldthorp has a packed year ahead, both personally and at work.

In addition to expecting a child with his wife and planning a move from Center City, Philadelphia, to the Cherry Hill area, he will have a manuscript published later this spring for the Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School journal publication, which is distributed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Oh, and Goldthorp is busily working toward his master’s in educational leadership in an online program through the American College of Education, in hopes to one day lead other teachers and help them develop bettering skills.

“It is a busy time,” he said.

Learn more about the Museum of Mathematics by visiting http://momath.org.

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