The Marvelous Madness of Marjorie Miller’s Magic

Lessons Teacher Voice

In an attempt to match Marjorie’s “math-madness,” this is how I would express Marjorie’s Series, Behind the Brackets as a mathematical equation:

Basketball in March + Multidisciplinary Approach to Subject [Math] x Quick Response to Current Event = [Math] Magic

Whether that computes with you or you need to check the back of the book, I predict you’d get a kick out of making your own calculations while getting to know more about what makes Marjorie Miller so magnificent!

Before you balk at the word “magic,” consider how Google defines it: “the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.” You’re an educator, so let’s assume you exhibit “supernatural forces” on the reg.


What if, learning from the marvelous, Marjorie Miller and how her creativity helped her turn the madness of the NCAA college basketball championship into a relevant learning experience for her math students can help us uncover the “mystery” behind having the power to influence the course of events in your classrooms, regardless of the subject.

For example, just as Marjorie makes percentages, fractions, and probability as fun as playing a pick-up basketball game in her Episode, “Probability and March Madness,” imagine how you can fire up your students in whatever areas they might be struggling.

As someone who has a history of struggling with math, seeing the way Marjorie uses the excitement of the largest basketball tournament in the world as an entry point for her students to learn about math makes me wish I could magically go back in time and see if having rich learning experiences like those Marjorie is creating by connecting her passion for basketball to her students’ learning experiences would create a different relationship with math for me today.

In addition to designing personalized learning experiences for her students through how they access the specific information each student needs to know, Marjorie also combines research, history, and global relevance to immediately tap into a popular, current event to convert her students’ personal curiosities into learning fuel for math.

As a part of her Episodes, Marjorie anticipates terms and concepts students might need more information on by introducing concepts like “denominator,” “probability,” and even what the NCAA Basketball Championship is in her “Probability and March Madness” Episode. Her students can easily click on words and concepts they don’t know and learn more through footnotes and expanded vocabulary.

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Just like the other top tier teachers creating lessons on Belouga, Marjorie isn’t only creating lesson-specific experiences for students, she’s creating life experiences by inviting students to learn more about all aspects of universities–like how selective they are and much they cost!

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Marjorie concludes this relevant learning experience by encouraging students to get as hyped up about her “Researching the Colleges” Episode as those featured in it!

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Getting students as pumped up about fractions, probability, and math as they are about the largest basketball tournament on the Planet? Now that’s what I call turning “math madness” into classroom magic!

*Author’s Note: This is one of many stories of global educators I have been fortunate to meet and now excited to share with the World. Thank you for getting curious with me!

Matt Murrie

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