Meet Marcia Burrows - The Logical Woman


I'm Marcia Burrows, The Logical Woman. (There's a bittersweet story behind my company name, see below.)

In the 70s I was the math teacher in a very special, small school. I taught students from 5 to 12 years old at the Taproot School in Detroit, Michigan. Taproot was a "free school", part of the movement that began with A. S. Neill's Summerhill School in England.

The theory was that the students would direct their own learning. In practice this meant that kids didn't have to come to my math area ... ever. So, I made sure math was beautiful, interesting, fun, challenging and personal to each child.  That wasn't hard. First, math is intrinsically beautiful, interesting, fun and challenging. And second, at Taproot we had a 12 to 1 ratio of students to teachers.

My math area at Taproot was full of playful, hands-on exploration and easily attracted the students. I also started making games to promote understanding and practice specific mathematical concepts. Obviously, this was before the days of microcomputers.

I started my computer programming career by designing a math game for CBS Software in 1983. "Math Mileage" was an award-winning, educational game for the 48K Atari Computer written in Assembler for an 8K cartridge.

I've written many more games and all sorts of code in many languages since then, including games for the Detroit Institute of Arts and Chrysler Corporation.

Now, after many years of working on business applications and learning database design, I'm getting back to my roots as a game designer.

In 2014 / 2015 / 2016 I participated in and eventually served as Community TA in the MITx MOOCs on Game Design and Design and Development of Games for Learning.

I love my creative work. It's deliciously difficult. And, I loved being a math teacher. Now I once again get to teach math with my games.

I've recently launched into table top games as well with my sister, Janet Mott-Snider.

You'll find my new games at  LogicalGameStudio.com and GoalQuestGames.com.

My résumé is available at LogicalWoman.com.

The Story

In late 1983 K-Byte, a Michigan company that placed games with CBS Software, threw a cocktail party to announce and celebrate the release of several new games. One of the games was my "Math Mileage".

My then husband attended the party with me. We cruised around with champagne, chatting with the managers, salesmen and other programmers. One salesman I hadn't previously met turned his back to me and kept talking to my husband about my game. Eventually, my husband said, "Marcia's the programmer, not me." The salesman turned around and jeered, "A logical woman? That's a contradiction in terms!" My mouth fell open and the room went quiet. We laughed it off, but I remembered it.

Years later, when deciding on a name for my company,  I chose The Logical Woman.