How do magicians trick people?
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Image & Video Credits

Mystery Science respects the intellectual property rights of the owners of visual assets. We make every effort to use images and videos under appropriate licenses from the owner or by reaching out to the owner to get explicit permission. If you are the owner of a visual and believe we are using it without permission, please contact us—we will reply promptly and make things right.

Exploration
7 Simple Magic Tricks with Household Items by TheDanocracy
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Holiday Jubliee provides fun for all ages with magicians by Lance Cpl. Scott Whiting , used under Public Domain
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Military children at Jeff Jones magic show by Pfc. Joshua Grant , used under Public Domain
Mr. Sucro’s Removable Finger Triack by Mike Levin, SEO in NYC
Print Prep
Activity Prep

In this mini-lesson, students discover that making close observations like a scientist can help them figure out how magic tricks work. In the activity, The Gold Finder, students build a trick prop and practice performing on their friends.

Preview activity

In this activity, students will learn and practice a simple magic trick called “The Great Gold Finder.” The trick appears to magically change the direction of an arrow, but all students need to do is change the way they turn the paper using a simple sleight of hand distraction.

Step 1: Gather materials

Each student will need:

  • scissors
  • glue stick

Step 2: Print out materials

Each student will need:

Each pair of students will need:

Step 3: Prepare for class

The Great Gold Finder will print with two copies of the template on each sheet. Older students will cut these in half during the activity. If you work with younger grades, you may want to pre-cut these to save time.


Teacher Tip

All step-by-step videos show the Great Gold Finder with the arrow pointing toward the upper right at the start of the trick. While this is what the Magician will see from their perspective, their audience will see the arrow pointing to the lower left. The magic trick will work regardless, but some students may notice and ask you about it.

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