There is no way that math is dull when professional mathematicians perform magic in a middle school math circle.
At Santa Cruz Math Circle, Dr Paul Seitz prepared for the afternoon math circle by placing a stack of playing cards against the computer.
Seitz is chair of the math department at the University of San Francisco and founder of the math circles. “Today we’re going to teach math as it relates to easy-to-perform magic tricks,” he said. “I demonstrate the trick and then show them how it works. The real challenge, though, is when I ask them to tell me how it works.”
The magic tricks help Zeitz teach basic algebra lessons and concepts like parity invariants.
“Parity invariants is fairly basic math, but most people don’t learn it until they’re in grad school for engineering,” he said. “We try to find math concepts that are fun and engaging, but also not likely to be taught in school.”