I have found many times that magic tricks enchant children. In fact, magic is a perfect activity to entertain the little ones.
However, it is perhaps not so obvious that magic is also an excellent teaching resource.
That is why I always add magic to my educational shows.
Some magic tricks are tough to master and require a lot of practice, and the truth is that they are not suitable for everyone.
Luckily, there are also many other tricks that are amazing, and at the same time, quite simple to execute and perfect for anyone with the desire to learn.
If you are a teacher or any other kind of educator, why do not consider incorporating magic into your job from time to time? You will break your day-to-day routine, children will be very grateful, and you will feel a great satisfaction.
And not least: in addition to entertaining your students, you will also educate them.
How to turn magic tricks into educational tools
The system is very simple.
The first thing you have to do is select a magic trick that you like, or at least that catches your attention.
If you do not know any, you can find a lot of them on the internet. For example, you can look for “easy magic tricks” in Google.
When you have decided on a particular magic trick, try to imagine how you could modify the original trick’s presentation to add the educational concept that you want to work.
Rehearse it thoroughly before presenting it, and you will be ready to give your students a wonderful surprise!
To make it clearer, I will give you an example of my experience.
At first, I will explain to you how was the original trick, and then how I modified it to add an educational message.
The essence of magic lays on mystery and secrecy. All magic tricks have their secret. Even if you have found the explanation on the internet or in a book, now it is your duty to keep jealously the secret and never reveal it to anyone.
The original trick
The original trick was like this:
“The magician shows a wooden die, puts an empty hat next to it and covers the die with a small box. After a while, the magician lifts the box and shows that the die is no longer there: it has magically traveled to the hat!”
It is a showy and impressive magic effect. In fact, it is a true classic of magic of which there are several versions. It always amazes children.
How can a die trip invisibly from one place to another? It is incomprehensible!
However, this magic trick is relatively easy to do if you just rehearse it well enough to make your movements smooth.
This trick had always caught my eye, so one day I went to Barcelona’s magic shop Rei de la Màgia and bought it.
However, when I had the magic die at home, I found that it did not fit well with my performing style.
So, for some time I had my magic die collecting dust on a shelf, not knowing what to do with it nor taking any profit from it.
Until one day, when I was creating my road safety show, I was racking my brain trying to find a way to teach children the risk of crossing the street without looking well on both sides.
Then I remembered my wasted magic die, and it occurred to me that maybe I could adapt it to the educational message I wanted to convey.
Now I will tell you the trick with its original presentation modified, and with the addition of the educational message.
The magic trick with the added educational message
I show the children a great die with some cars drawn on its sides, and I tell them that the die represents the cars on the street.
I also show them an empty box with the same size as the die and an empty top hat. I leave the box and the hat on the opposite ends of the table.
I explain to the children that the cars (i.e. the die) can come from the right (represented by the box), or from the left (represented by the hat).
The table represents the street that we must cross.
Then I tell them the educational message that I want to reaffirm with this trick:
“It is critical that we take a good look where the cars are coming from before crossing the street because our eyes can deceive us.”
And to show them that our eyes sometimes deceive us, I put the die alternately in the box and the hat, and every time I ask the children: “From where are the cars coming from?”
Without hesitation, children correctly indicate when the die is in the box, and when it is in the hat.
So they become overconfident, just like when they carelessly cross the street without paying attention and taking for granted that no car is coming.
Finally, I put the die in the box. Kids are confident where it is, as always.
But it turns out that this time is not so.
To the surprise of the children, I show them that the box is empty. I slowly take off the die from the hat.
This time, cars were coming from the other way: we would have had an accident!
This unexpected result impacts greatly on them, and they often exclaim: “It’s magic!” Then I reply that it is not magic, but “sometimes our eyes can …” and they complete the phrase: “… deceive us!“
“That’s why it’s so important that, before crossing the street, let’s take a good look at any car coming from this way, or …” and they finish: “… from the other way!”
In this simple manner, you can add an educational message to the magic tricks you like the most.