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Topic: Seeking trick for classroom demonstration
Message: Posted by: djb281 (Sep 25, 2019 06:27PM)
I'm a philosophy professor looking for a magic trick to perform as an in-class demonstration. The goal is to get students to remember that two distinct things can still be qualitatively indistinguishable from each other.

I was thinking that I could do it by performing and then revealing a magic trick in which what is presented to the audience as one object is actually two qualitatively indistinguishable objects, or vice versa. For example, it could be that what appears to be a single ball moving by magic from one location to another was actually just two different balls. Or it could be that I seem to keep pulling impossibly many scarves out of my pocket, but really it's just the same one over and over, or something like that. Anyway, I was hoping someone here might have a suggestion--even just a phrase to search for in google.

A classic trick that everyone knows is fine, but it does need to be a stage trick for a classroom with 200 students. I'm not a magician, so it needs to be easy to perform, and hopefully something that doesn't require any specialized props. (I could probably buy something inexpensive if needed.) Any suggestions would be very much appreciated!
Message: Posted by: funsway (Sep 25, 2019 07:40PM)
The Gozinta box that produces different colored balls will work. Inexpensive and confabulating.

the enigma of the boxes is puzzle enough, but the continuous production of balls a magic interlude.

Simple to master, but there are better alternatives to the offered routine. PM me if this is the direction you might do.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Sep 26, 2019 05:21AM)
The Boomerang illusion.
Message: Posted by: Aus (Sep 26, 2019 06:58AM)
So here is my suggestion.

Buy some of this special no tear A4 paper from you local dealer: https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=65450

Supply you own normal garden verity A4 paper and you can set your self up in a number of different routines.

Here is an example routine.

Preface your demonstration about the duality of human emotion for example and how two opposite emotions like happy and sad can manifest themselves physically in the same way making them indistinguishable. A perfect example is crying which through observation alone could be representative of someone being both happy or sad.

To further this demonstration find pick two helpers of contrast, one being scrawny or of stature not outwardly indicative of strength then someone of the opposite stature who has the outwardly appearance of strength. Hand the scrawny person the normal sheet of paper and have it torn in half then hand the apparently stronger helper a sheet of special no tear paper and watch them have difficulty in tearing it.

You could dress this up in all sorts of ways, but since your a philosophy professor I'm sure you'll figure your own presentation out.

Another idea was to get a bounce no bounce ball set. One ball bounces well the other one doesn't. You can get these from your local magic shop with no worry's.




Message: Posted by: funsway (Sep 26, 2019 02:52PM)
Afghan Bands would work also.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Sep 27, 2019 10:20AM)
Am I the only one made uncomfortable with the plan to show a trick and then expose it right after?

The boomerang illusion would be a good choice, especially with the Road Scholar presentation, but others are tricks that should not be exposed.

Message: Posted by: funsway (Sep 27, 2019 10:39AM)
[quote]On Sep 27, 2019, Mr. Woolery wrote:
Am I the only one made uncomfortable with the plan to show a trick and then expose it right after?

The boomerang illusion would be a good choice, especially with the Road Scholar presentation, but others are tricks that should not be exposed.

Patrick [/quote]

That' why I shifted to Afghan Bands as it is demonstration of a Mobius Strip and opens the world of topology and endless universe, etc.
It is only magic trick because of the presentation - otherwise a physical anomaly of an object with one side and one edge.
Message: Posted by: karnak (Sep 27, 2019 10:42AM)
[quote]On Sep 27, 2019, Mr. Woolery wrote:
Am I the only one made uncomfortable with the plan to show a trick and then expose it right after?[/quote]

Is it even really necessary to expose the trick's secret workings?

Wouldn't it be enough for the professor to simply announce, at its conclusion, something like "Obviously, it's only a trick -- even if you don't know the method by which it was done"?
Message: Posted by: djb281 (Sep 27, 2019 11:59AM)
Thanks, everyone for the suggestions! There are so many great tricks involving similarity and distinctness. I was thinking the bounce no bounce ball set would be the best demonstration of what I had in mind, since in that trick there are two different balls that are passed off as a single ball during the trick. Regarding exposing it, won't most people be able to guess that the ball was switched anyway? In general, it could be something extremely simple that everyone who's ever seen a magic trick before is already familiar with. I "disappear" a ball from one location and "reappear" it in another, but actually it was just two different balls. But I don't think the point will make sense unless I can point out to them that really it was two different balls.
Message: Posted by: Aus (Sep 27, 2019 01:51PM)

An alternative trick if exposure is a required element I feel that would suit your requirements would be the sucker torn and restored Napkin which has a pseudo exposure element built into the trick. It would let you show and demonstrate the difference and similarity concept that your trying to highlight for the demonstration yet still allow for a moment of amazement at the end. The best of both worlds.

Essentially the premise is that you tear a paper napkin then magically restore it then after the initial performance go into explaining how you achieved the restoration by way of switching in a secondary napkin for the torn one. At the conclusion of this pseudo exposure moment as sort of an afterthought you magically restore the torn pieces of the switched out napkin as well which leaves then scratching their heads, ending on a cliff hanger.

If your interested in this trick PM me and I'll let you know about some resources to where you can learn the trick.


Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Sep 27, 2019 10:30PM)
Well, sure, we know there is a trick. People are not dumb. But to deliberately destroy the magic just to make sure students see that it was a trick seems like a disservice to people who work hard to create beautiful illusions. Once you reduce it to I switched the balls, it means students now view the trick as a challenge to spot the switch, not as a performance art.

You will do what you think best as a professor, of course. But please think about the less obvious lessons you are teaching by making a point.

I do wish my own professors would make some effort to make lectures less torturously dull. I totally appreciate your intentions. I just dont approve of exposing the workings of magic.

Message: Posted by: funsway (Sep 27, 2019 11:35PM)
I used magic effect many time sin a classrooms settings and never revealed method or was asked to by a student.

The stated purpose of "The goal is to get students to remember that two distinct things can still be qualitatively indistinguishable from each other. "
does not require any reveal of method, only an acknowledgement that their perceptions were tricked.

An optical illusion might work as well.

I refer once agin to the Azevedo Experiment discussed on previous posts. Yes, magic can be a powerful "attention-retention" tool,
but the key is that they remember the lesson and not the trick.

The focus her on "they know it is a trick" is wrong thinking for me. The objective of a good magic effect is that they do not care,
and if the know method or even think they do the magic is gone or diminished. You may make a point by the reveal, but at the loss of the magic experience.

Two things can be "qualitatively indistinguishable" - the knowledge that something is impossible and the witnessed perception that it has been done.
Mission accomplished - no reveal or even mention of "trick."
Message: Posted by: TomB (Oct 28, 2019 10:37PM)
You can do the pour more where a 10 oz cup fills a 3 oz cup. Do not need to tell them how either. They understand volume and the laws were not seemingly applied.
Message: Posted by: jimgerrish (Oct 28, 2019 11:08PM)
It is most important that you do NOT reveal how the trick is done. An important part of the lesson should be... go figure it out for yourself AND no, I will not tell you if you are correct; prove it yourself or live with it as a mystery. That's life; an important lesson of life.

If you are familiar with the black box experiment, you should appreciate this concept. You have a sealed box with something inside. They can try to guess what the object is by tilting, shaking, thumping, testing it with magnets, etc. But you never tell them if they are right or wrong, or what object is hidden inside the box. Scientists have to live with the knowledge that what they THINK an atom looks like after running all the tests they can, is still only a guess and they will never know with absolute certainty if their idea or concept of an atom is right or wrong.
Message: Posted by: Russo (Oct 29, 2019 07:22AM)
Tear no tear - paper can be made by covering 1/2 of a sheet of plain white paper (typing??) with 'white contact' paper - tear in half - give regular paper to a unstrong(?) person and the
contact half to a strong person - ask them to tear their paper into pc's. ??????????