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Topic: Math magic for math students
Message: Posted by: bobmcmathman (Jul 19, 2006 05:34AM)
Hi all,
I’m currently teaching an introductory/remedial math course online for San Joaquin Valley College and am trying to incorporate my love of math and magic into the course to perhaps stimulate more interest in both topics among my students.

To that end, I am giving them an extra credit project each week. Each project is an explanation of the effect portion of a math-based magic effect. Their assignment is to try to explain the math behind the trick, learn the trick, perform it and report on their performance.

So far, I have used birthday magic squares, and the Fibonacci trick (write down 10 rows of numbers and magi calls out sum). Of course, I will use the 1089 trick when we get to algebra. What others do you think I should include? I want them to learn magic and math, but I do not explain the solution to them. These are basic math students. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Message: Posted by: rgranville (Jul 19, 2006 07:21AM)
Here are two sites (mentioned in previous threads in this section of the Café): [url]http://www.milaadesign.com/wizardy.html[/url]

These tricks shouldn't give you any problem, but PM me if they do. You will of course have to wait until you get to algebra and will have to cover the properties of multiples of 9.

Message: Posted by: Scott Cram (Jul 19, 2006 02:21PM)
In [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnhNcndTvJE]this video[/url] and [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmth2VdeCCI]this video[/url], there are a couple of great math tricks. As a matter of fact, the [url=http://gmvlog.blogspot.com/2006/07/arthur-benjamin-mathemagics.html]entire set of clips[/url] might prove inspirational.

A couple of other sources of feats for basic math students could include:
[url=http://members.cox.net/beagenius/serial1.html]Serial Number Feat[/url] (Pencil and Paper version)
[url=http://members.cox.net/beagenius/mentalshopper1.html]Doug Canning's "Mental Shopper"[/url]
[url=http://members.cox.net/beagenius/root.html]Root Extractions[/url]
[url=http://mathforum.org/k12/mathtips/beatcalc.html]BEATCALC: Beat the Calculator[/url]
[url=http://www.cut-the-knot.org/front.shtml]Cut The Knot[/url]
[url=http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&isbn=0307338401&itm=2]Arthur Benjmain's New Book (released next month!)[/url]
[url=http://headinside.blogspot.com/2006/04/review-mathematical-wizardry.html]Mathematical Wizardry[/url]
Message: Posted by: Slim King (Jul 19, 2006 08:16PM)
I wouldn't expose ANY of these methods to the general public!
Message: Posted by: Hushai (Jul 20, 2006 04:23PM)
Look at this site:

It has some wonderful mathematical card tricks, complete with mathematical explanations that are far over my head, but may interest those who understand such things.
Message: Posted by: bobmcmathman (Jul 20, 2006 05:24PM)
Thank you everyone. I'll check these sites out. Slim, don't worry, I don't plan to expose anything. I give the students a description of the effect, just like they'd see if they saw the effect performed, and it is up to them to research the effect and tell ME how it is done. Any exposure will come from what is already on the internet or in books published.
Message: Posted by: Scott Cram (Jul 20, 2006 11:59PM)
One more effect I should add, [url=http://www.wangeducation.com/videos/beautywebpromo01.mov]presented here without explanation[/url], shouldn't be too hard for anyone here to figure out, and would probably be a good one for your students.
Message: Posted by: Slim King (Jul 23, 2006 10:11PM)
Hey Bob,

If you'd like, I could call your class and do some Mind Reading Over The Phone. That might spark them into looking for mathematical solutions to effects done from thousands of miles away. Maybe I could do my new version of Celebrity Poker, Texas Hold EM, called, Psylebrity Poker. LOL

It'd be fun!
Message: Posted by: bobmcmathman (Jul 27, 2006 12:02PM)
That is a kind offer and a great idea. But I'm teaching the class online so we don't meet in real-time. I'll keep your number in case I teach in a classroom soon.
Message: Posted by: Algebra2 (Sep 4, 2006 12:59AM)
Hi, I happen to need remedial math classes. I'm planning on going back to a junior college next year. But I just read an excellent book called Innumeracy. This book has more than a few ideas on why people should learn basic and math and beyond. I think adding magic effects to spice of your lectures is a good idea.
Message: Posted by: Scott Cram (Sep 4, 2006 08:50AM)
If you perform the Birthday feat (where, in a room of 30 people, two will likely have the same birthday), [url=http://www.curiousmath.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=78]here's a great and extremely clear way to explain it[/url].
Message: Posted by: bobmcmathman (Sep 9, 2006 07:02PM)
Hi all, and thanks for all your good ideas. I've taught the course twice now and haven't had a single student turn in the extra credit math magic assignments. Not one!

I ended up using the following 5 effects:

1. Magic squares
2. Fibonacci numbers
3. Binary number cards
4. Rapid calculation ability
5. Mental mindreading using penny and dime

Maybe the effects are just too vague, or too advanced. As a semi-math guy, I thought they were pretty obvious. Or maybe the students just aren't motivated to do extra credit. I'll keep trying.

Also, algebra 2 guy/gal: if you are looking for remedial math, I teach for SJVC at http://www.sjvc.edu and have also taken nearly all the courses for graduate credit from http://onlinemathcourses.org/ . These are review courses for teachers (but can be taken by anybody) and give you graduate credit if you already have a degree. Both SJVC and Converse (onlinemath) are distance learning so you don't have to attend classes, work at home, etc. PM me if you have any questions.