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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Once upon a time... » » Education as the story (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Ergerbor
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I apologize for double posting. I posted the following in "Food For Thought" but I wonder if it wouldn't have some interest here as well.

I teach mathematics and I'm finding that the theory and practice of the presentation of magical effects is full of good advice for a math teacher. I've had the thought recently that there are a number of ideas and results in mathematics that can't be directly shown. These turn up when looking at higher spatial dimensions (the fourth is fun to start with) or in topology which is usually characterized as 'rubber sheet' geometry because lengths and angles take a back seat to those properties of objects which persist when lengths and angles are relaxed.

This topic is therefore probably only of interest to folks with a side interest in mathematics but if you have that interest, I'd be happy to chat with you. Here are some initial ideas since my revelation: Professor's Nightmare. In topology there is the idea of 'homeomorphism' which is a continuous deformation of one object into another. Different lengths of string are 'homeomorphic' while different knots (the unknot vs. the trefoil) are not (not pun intended but none regretted). So you could imagine, as an instructor (or an entertainer of mathematicians) saying something along the lines of "While it's not actually possible to deform a rope of this variety, if could perform the homoemorphism on the board here *gestures* it would look something like this," and the instructor seems to have transformed different lengths into the same length. Homeomorphisms come equipped with an inverse so it's easy to undo this process.

That's one idea, admittedly niche, but changing the orientations of objects penetrations etc can be explained using a fourth spatial dimension (which was certainly already thought of a long time ago in seances etc). My realization is that the effect becomes a demonstration not of the magicians prowess but of an idea. It seems less important how the effect works, but rather that it demonstrates what WOULD happen if this mathematical idea could be seen through. In the context of teaching I wonder if this creates a different perception of the effect.

There's lots of room here I'm sure. I'm also sure I can't be the first to think of the deceptive aspect of magic creating an opportunity for educating, or for creating the perception of education vs duping. Would this change the dynamic which sometimes pits the magician against the spectator, fooler vs fooled?

If anyone is interested in brainstorming along these lines just say so I'll just brain dumping Smile
friend2cptsolo
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I always like magic more when someone spends the time to tell a story or present something in a fun way. I always dislike magic when I see it performed as the magician vrs the spectator, or fooler vrs fooled. Great magic happens when you connect in the way you are talking about. You SHOULD try this in the class room. Make your story come to life with facts dates names ...... the professor can be you? and your nightmare trying to grasp the concept homeomorphism or what ever...... I strive to put stories to any and all magic I do. It is really not about the affect but the way someone choses to perform it.
funsway
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old things in new ways - new things in old ways
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When I was sustitute teaching a lot, I had many opportunties to use magci to illustrate a point of of a lesson --

didn't matter which subject, just chnage the story to fit with magic to provide the "retention."

Happy to discuss some of the possibilites anytime at funsway@eversway.com

For math, Conradi Blocks (CubaLinbra) has many possible story htemes better than the original
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
friend2cptsolo
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I had a math professor that would often times get sidetracked telling stories of some of the great mathmaticians and their indiscretions.
Ergerbor
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Friend2cptsolo,

Me too, I really enjoy story and the story, I think, sometimes can reduce the 'magician vs. spectator' aspect which I'm not comfortable. I want to share fascinating illusions vs demonstrate my powers. No judgement there, it's just not a character I can carry or pull off. Ultimately I'm a teacher and I want to instruct or share, I'm picking up some great ideas from the Café on this.
friend2cptsolo
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I think one can tell a story but still display their magical powers through the story. And doesn't a teacher or educator have "magical powers" as well,..... the power of knowledge?
Anatole
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You might want to check this thread from 2010:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=99

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
BeThePlunk
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I'm an English teacher, so story and thematic debates of all kinds are daily fare. Take the poem "Invictus," -- you know it -- the one that ends with the lines "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul". When the kids come back from Xmas break, I'm gonna hit 'em with a free-will demonstration that'll get them talking. Are they really masters of their fate? It'll be a fun class.
BeThePlunk
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I'm an English teacher, so story and thematic debates of all kinds are daily fare. Take the poem "Invictus," -- you know it -- the one that ends with the lines "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul". When the kids come back from Xmas break, I'm gonna hit 'em with a free-will demonstration that'll get them talking. Are they really masters of their fate? It'll be a fun class.
Geoff Akins
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While I don't know the science/math behind things like homeomorphism I will say that anytime a teacher can bring a heady concept out of theory and into some physical form I, personally, can understand it more fully. When this is done in a magical way the effect is two-fold...it's a double whammy of Wow, what an interesting concept/theory and Wow, how did he DO that! Win-Win!!
Ergerbor
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BeThePlunk, sounds fascinating, let us know how it turns out.

Geoff Akins, Love the profile pic, I'm a huge fan of bubbles, do you include that in your act?
Sh9bum9
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I'm always looking for ways to incorporate magic into my elementary school class. I have used it to teach about behavior and to start lesson units. Love these posts.
Decisions determine destiny. Thomas S. Monson
friend2cptsolo
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Tesla died face down at a table of half finished notes and theories, a man that had agreed to a deal,worth MILLIONS(which he never recieved) from the head of General Electric,Thomas Edison. Died penniless!
There on the table was the plans for a DEATH RAY machine and a picture of Eistein.

I think a magic effect can be in this some how. But this is how we can easily set the stage for a great historic lesson and magic.

Knowledge so powerful it could drive a genius insane???
Quchoul
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Thank you for such a story.
Quchoul
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