Uber-talented artist, Pablo Solomon, showed me how magic for kids is a way to learn math.
Since AJ is on her second time through the Harry Potter books, it seemed like a perfect idea for her because she still isn’t solid with her number sense. (I think that is one of the biggest weaknesses of the Everyday Math curriculum but that’s a blog post for another day.)
Initially, Solomon shared with me how his father taught him the value of education, hard work and disciplined savings. His father, despite having a limited education himself, knew that for his son to get ahead in life he needed to know math. So, he taught Solomon magic tricks using mental math.
“One of the funniest things my dad did with me when I was about four was to have me memorize some numbers and to repeat one of those numbers on a given signal,” Solomon remembers. “He would tell his friends that I was a math genius. He would then give me some really complicated computation. Of course I had no idea of what he was saying, but if he touched his left ear I would say the square root of of blah, blah is whatever.”
His father also taught Solomon card tricks, many of which depend on math and “mind reading” tricks “where you have the person think of a number and then you have them to add and subtract numbers. Or you have the grid square with numbers and you have the person think of one of the numbers and you have them add and subtract the squares until their number is left.”
Solomon credits his math ability to his success in life. He says, “Because I could do a lot of math in my head, when I took standardized tests I appeared to be smarter than I probably was. This helped me to earn scholarships to college. And because of my knowledge of mathematics such as statistics, compound interest, etc. I have successfully invested the money that I earn from my art career which helps my wife and I to live a wonderful life.”
What an inspiration — he’s a math whiz and a successful artist!
I couldn’t wait to try magic with AJ and was thrilled when Solomon sent us The First Book of Magic, a book from his childhood, to get us started.
Then, for her 9th birthday a few weeks later, I bought AJ the Melissa and Doug Deluxe Magic Set.
The book was easy to read and understand. That plus the magic kit with the magical props and more tricks really gave AJ some great, easy tricks she could perform for us.
The best part is that I think that her math understanding is growing while she’s learning magic tricks.
Thank you to my kind friend, Pablo Solomon, for the idea to learn math through magic. Learn more about Solomon’s art by visiting him online at pablosolomon.com to see drawings and sculptures of dancers, as well as environmental designs.
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you all about the 9-year-old magic show birthday party. What a blast!
Magic and Math Links
Magic Math Tricks and Videos from Activity TV
Mathematical Magic Tricks from Division by Zero blog
Math Card Tricks from Wonder How To
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