Danielle Miller: Find out more about...

Danielle in the classroom

Danielle starts each class with NASA's Picture of the Day, something she first learned about when she was taking astronomy in high school.  The pictures get discussion going, and keep everyone thinking about what's going on in space right now. She also encourages anyone interested in finding out more about space to follow NASA, its programs and offices, and many astronauts on social media. 

Danielle was a finalist for Teacher of the Year in Orange County, Florid this past school year. Take a peek into her classroom in this video...

Danielle's work with her students...

Danielle is constantly seeking opportunities for her students to get more involved with space and engineering. She told us about a cool project her students did recently:

There was this thing that went out with this group called Citizens in Space, and they had talked with XCorp, which is one of the commercial space companies that, they bought racks on the first couple flights. It’s a sub-orbital flight that goes in micro-gravity for a few minutes, and so, they offered ten spots on the first flights to groups who wanted to write proposals. So I had this girl in my class, she was on my robotics team for four years, she was sitting in my room for lunch one day, and I was like, “We should write a proposal for this,” and she was like, “Okay.”

She got a couple friends together, and we wrote it, and we got accepted, and the only other people who got accepted were colleges, so we were pretty excited. Unfortunately, XCorp isn’t a big company; they don’t have a lot of money, so I don’t know how long it’s going to be before they actually build the plane that it’s supposed to fly on. But if it does ever fly, our experiment will be on the first flight. They came up with this really cool experiment about seeing how lunar regolith and water mix in micro-gravity and at lunar gravity, which is, a lot of the stuff that they’re doing at Kennedy Space Center too, but we were working with the people at UCF, and they do a lot of research on that, too.

We came up with this little mechanism where it would mix together the stuff at different times, and there would be cameras on it so that we could see how they mixed in different things. So, that was a lot of work. It was a lot of programming, and I don’t know any of that, so I was reaching out to people, my former students, and I was like, come help us, we don’t know what we’re doing. So, yeah, but we managed to make it work. It’s not done yet, but like I said, we don’t know if or when it’s going to fly. So, we’ll see how that works out. We had to get, like, the sides 3D-printed, and we got the box to put it in, and got, it’s a Raspberry Pi that it runs on. It’s pretty cool. 

Read our interview with Danielle and check out her reading picks.