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Age Range: 11-14
Duration: 30-59 mins
  • D&T

Magic trick

A project that makes a magic trick where a pack of cards disappear.

Magic tricks use design and mathematics to make them work effectively. In this fun activity, you will use boxes that must fit together snugly to create a magic trick that will deceive an audience. Use this trick to amaze relatives and friends during the Christmas holiday!

Activity: Make a magic trick to make a card disappear

This activity is one of a series of free STEM resources designed to allow learners to use Christmas themes to develop their knowledge and skills in Design & Technology, and Engineering. This resource focuses on creating a magic trick which causes a pack of cards to disappear using complex graphic products made from nets.

In this activity, learners will use nets of boxes that will fit inside one another and must operate smoothly. Therefore, care must be taken to ensure that the cutting out, scoring and folding of the boxes are accurately done. Learners will understand that templates are commonly used in industry to allow large production runs of the same product.

The history of magic tricks

The history of magic tricks can be traced back to ancient civilisations. In Egypt, around 2500 BCE, performers used illusions to entertain audiences. The Greeks and Romans also had their own forms of magic, incorporating sleight of hand and optical illusions. During the Middle Ages, magic was associated with witchcraft and sorcery, leading to its suppression. However, in the 18th century, magic resurged as a popular form of entertainment, with magicians like Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin revolutionising the art. Today, magic tricks continue to captivate audiences worldwide, blending creativity, skill, and illusion to create wonder and awe.

The engineering context

The application of mathematical theory in the design of 2D nets to make 3D objects is an important part of the GCSE courses in Design & Technology and Engineering.

The knowledge gained can also be used when making 3D shapes for graphics projects such as packaging, booklets and structural work.

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this activity, students will be able to make a complex graphic product using nets and know that templates are used to produce batches of the same product.

Download the free activity sheet below!

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable so that you can tailor them to your students and your schools’ needs.

The activity sheet includes teacher notes, guidance, helpful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in the four devolved UK nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Oh ho ho, please share your classroom learning highlights with us @IETeducation! #SantaLovesSTEM

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