White House honors West Virginia educator

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White House honors West Virginia educator
By Laura Haight, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

Teaching science was not in Maureen Miller’s original plan, but after she lost her job as an exercise physiologist when the company closed, she decided to make a career change.

To combine her love of science and children, Miller went back to college and now teaches science at Hurricane Middle School.

The White House recognized Miller’s passion and commitment to education on Monday, when President Obama named her as one of the 213 math and science teachers to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

“It is overwhelming and humbling,” Miller said. “Just to be acknowledged for what I love to do every day is just amazing.”

After being nominated for the award, Miller submitted a video of her teaching a lesson, and a written narrative.

Miller recorded herself teaching her eighth-grade class about rate of diffusion. In the lesson, students compared diffusion rates of fresh water and salt water and then warm water and cold water. She then discussed with the students why the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was more tragic than the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

The students made the connection from their lab results that things diffuse faster in warm water than in cold water, which is why the spill in the gulf had more impact.

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