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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magical equations » » Magic and teaching probability & statistics (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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glicko
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Hi all,

My colleague Larry Lesser (Univ of Texas, El Paso) and I have just completed a paper on incorporating magic tricks in probability and statistics classes. The paper went through the peer-review process and has been accepted for publication in "Model Assisted Statistics and Applications" most likely to appear in the December 2009 issue. You can grab a pre-print (very slightly different from the version that will be published) at http://math.bu.edu/people/mg/research/Ma......post.pdf . Thought some Café members might be interested.

Enjoy!

- Mark Glickman

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TomasB
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Nice! That seems so much better than to use magic in religion class.

/Tomas
airship
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Excellent! I work in the Research Dept. at ACT (American College Testing) and am surrounded by people who have their PhDs in Statistics or Psychometrics. I can't wait to try some of these with them! Smile
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lboudreau
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Bravo! Magic is an excellent way to engage student interest. I applaud your effort to make mathematics more accessible.
LEO
S2000magician
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Very cool!

I've used magic in various classes I've taught; e.g., I open my course in cash flow analysis with a coins across routine. And in every math class I've taught, the last day of class is always the same: review for the final exam and magic show. (I figure that if they've put up with me for an entire semester of calculus or linear algebra or differential equations or whatever, they've earned it.)

I had one student who told me that he would have dropped my course in linear algebra and differential equations, but stuck it out (and earned a C, by the way) just so that he could see the show on the last day. Whatever motivates 'em, eh?
sean_mh
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I am a statistician as well, and use magic (cards mostly) as demonstrations in all the classes I teach in high school and univ. Yes, magic certainly does bring 'em in!!

Sean
tomboston
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I teach a high school Statistics class and am looking forward to reading about this!
Michael J. Douglas
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I don't know what all those number meant, but it was an interesting read. I can certainly see how those effects would be effective in teaching probability and stats. Smile
Michael J.
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barneyfife
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I am a high school math teacher and have used magic to show probability. I love the whole article and can't wait to incorporate these effects in the classroom.

Barney
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johnmharris
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This looks great! Thanks for sharing it with us.
glicko
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Thanks to everyone for the complimentary comments. The paper has now been published, though it can only be accessed with a journal subscription. Here's the web site for the journal issue in which the paper appears (see pages 265-274):
http://iospress.metapress.com/content/xmxu0g576051/

- Mark
RLFrame
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I heard a fellow on NPR a couple of years ago that co-wrote a stats textbook using magic-type tricks. Some pretty neat stuff.

http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Statistic......98572247
glicko
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I believe Gelman's book is more a set of demos for statistics lectures not really connected to magic. Still, a very fun book with instructive demos.

- Mark
RLFrame
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The one demo that he talked about in the interview was in sending two groups of students out of the room into separate locations. One group had a coin, the other did not. The group with the coin was decided AFTER they left the room so that no one in the room knew who had the coin. One group was to flip the coin a number of times and record the results. The other group pretended to flip the coin, and recorded the 'results' of these imaginary flips. When they returned and showed their results, the teacher immediately knew which group had the real coin.
glicko
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Yes, that's one of the demos that can be couched as a magic trick, and it relies on people's misperception of randomness in binary sequences. It's a very clever idea.

- Mark
TomasB
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I posed the coin tossing as a problem, expecting no one to solve it. You get no points for guessing who did.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=101

/Tomas
amedica
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Very interesting paper, thnks for that
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mralincoln
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Just clicked the link and downloaded the paper for later reading. Thanks so much for posting it and for thinking of those of us on the Magic Café!
glicko
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Not to continue this thread indefinitely, but I thought I'd mention that the editor of the journal that published our paper on magic demos in the statistics classroom has decided to make the article (and the entire issue, which is on statistics pedagogy) publicly accessible on the journal's website. For a fresh copy, check out:
http://iospress.metapress.com/content/j7......text.pdf

Thanks.

- Mark
IanL
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What about Out of This World for probability? Clearly, on each attempt to separate black from red, you should have a 50/50 chance. The odds of being correct become slimmer and slimmer with each card.
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