Maywood Elementary kindergarten in Indiana is lucky to have Julie Gintzler. She performs magic tricks in the classroom, and here are two of them.
Take a magic coloring book you can get from any magic store or online. Flip through the pages the first time and the pages are blank. Then ask the children to rub their special magic crayon, which is of course invisible, on the cover of the book and the second time you flip through it — voila! Pictures appear. The third time the children rub their magic crayon on the book and you flip through again, suddenly the pictures are all bright, beautiful colors. How do you use this as a teaching experience?
Capture children’s attention with magic to draw them in. Do it early in the year. It sparks their imagination. It sets the tone for a year of science that is going to be fun and exciting and with something new around every corner.
Is it OK if children think science is magic? Absolutely. Once they start performing experiments of their own, they can self-discover that it is not magic, but something they can make happen. The secret behind a science magic trick is not strings or mirrors. The secret is scientific.
Julie’s second classroom experience is Spot Dot! As she sits down to read a story, she asks the children: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could pull a red dot off this book”?. Magically, using Spot Dot you can. Spot Dot is a device which, when squeezed, will pull what looks like a dot off the book. Because it looks like your thumb, the kids don’t see it. In 18 years of teaching, Julie has never had kids rush up to see a book like this. It was amazing!
The greatest thing about doing magic in the classroom is you don’t share how it really works. It’s that sense of wonder and because teachers are supposed to be magical, especially in those first years of school. You want children to keep discovering that there are reasons why things happen. That gives them empowerment. That makes them feel special. So it’s best to keep some of those secrets to magic tricks to ourselves.
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