Author: Luis Islas Cruz – Centro de Investigación en Matemáticas, Mexico


  • Marco Figueroa – Centro de Investigación en Matemáticas, Mexico
  • Rocí­o González – Centro de Investigación en Matemáticas, Mexico

The understanding of elemental subjects in Mathematics is quite difficult for many of the Mexican students of primary and secondary school level. The low interest of children and teenagers is one of the biggest issues on this matter. Therefore, playful and educative activities have become necessary to create a tight bond between elemental Mathematics, students, general population, and Mathematical culture.

The Centro de Investigación en Matemáticas, a public research institute in Guanajuato, Mexico, through its science communication group, Matemorfosis, has created several activities that not only address meaningful Math topics, but also try to compel the students to have fun and even more, understand that those topics are closer to their lives than they thought.

This Visual Presentation pretends to show one of the resources created to achieve this approach to the students. Some workshops around magic tricks that work using Mathematics have been developed and improved, in order to introduce enjoyable applications of Mathematics to students.

We will be presenting three magic tricks as an introduction to this resource. One trick is a version of an exercise shown by David Copperfield on National Television. Our version has a plot to catch the attention of children and teenagers. The explanation uses simple Arithmetic and introduces a very interesting area of Mathematics called Mathematical Invariance where no matter the initial data, the process makes the result remain the same.

Two other tricks will use poker cards. The student, playing as spectator, selects cards and the magician performs theatrical illusions that amuse and amaze. These tricks can be revealed using Algebra, Combinatorics and Mathematical Invariance once again.

Everything shown is easy to replicate using affordable and reachable materials. The reveals of the tricks will be shown as in a workshop. The audience will be able to participate and will get hints to discover how the tricks work.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Visual presentation
Theme: Transformation