Math Teacher’s Bag-of-Tricks: How to make my class more entertaining?

Math can sometimes seem like a very dry subject… you can just have a pencil and paper to do it, and in order to become good at it, you need to do problem after problem: “Practice Makes Perfect” as they say. But as a math teacher, it is nice to have a bag of “math tricks” up your sleeve to show the actual beauty and interesting side of math.

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The Sword of Knowledge: A Cute Puzzle – Great for Kids!

The dragon of ignorance has three heads and three tails. However, you can slay it with the sword of knowledge by cutting off all its heads and tails. With one swipe of the sword you can cut off one head, two heads, one tail, or two tails.

But . . .

When you cut off one head, a new one grows in its place.

When you cut off one tail, two new tails replace it.

When you cut off two tails, one new head grows.

When you chop off two heads, nothing grows.

Help the world by slaying the dragon of ignorance.

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The “Three Doors, One Prize” Probability Puzzle

In the recent movie: “21” a probability puzzle is presented:

A quiz show contestant is lead to a room with three doors. Behind one of them there’s an expensive sports car; behind the other two there’s a goat. The candidate chooses one of the doors. But it is not opened; the host (who knows the location of the sports car) opens one of the other doors instead and shows a goat. The rules of the game, which are known to all participants, require the host to do this irrespective of the candidate’s initial choice. The candidate is now asked if he wants to stick with the door he chose originally or if he prefers to switch to the other remaining closed door. His goal is the sports car, of course!

The question now is:

* Is the candidate better off if he sticks with his original choice, * are his chances better if he switches, or * does it not matter whether he switches or not?

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