Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For Kids: Shuffling Shenanigans

Summary: Stanford University mathematician Persi Diaconis was just a thirteen-year-old teenager hanging out at at magic store. Hoping to learn some magic secrets, he meets the great magician, Dai Vernon and soon becomes his apprentice. Diaconis was a questioner and as he learned his magic tricks he began to wonder how many ways you can arrange a deck of cards. Diaconis realized he needed math and went back to school. The article explains his use of the computer to help him find all the combinations and includes questions for teachers to use with their students.

Classroom activities: research other famous mathematicians or magicians. Compare and contrast the two. Research other types of card games. Have students categorize the math found and create a class list of student generated strategies they used for each game. Embed the study of card games or ancient board games into a unit on probability.


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