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Trick with 27

I finished watching another fantastic video from Numberphile.  The title is perfect “Beautiful Card Trick”.  After you watch it I think you will agree.

The video has some wonderful math and I cannot wait to try out different versions of the trick.  Here are some examples that come to my mind.

  1. If you have a class of 27 students or more, then you could have each student put their name on a card, making a deck of 27 names.  I think this could be a good first day activity.
  2. Do one of those activities where you use four fours to make the numbers 1-27.  Put each one a card, making a deck of 27.  Then do the trick.
  3. Have students type in “random city” into WolframAlpha.  A lot of math could be done with each city.  Then collect 27 cities and do the trick.
  4. This would be a great introduction into bases. The trick could then be followed with base four and other bases.
  5. Have students create a function and list out 27 inputs-outputs in coordinate form.  Do the trick with those 27 coordinate points.

Overall, there are this card trick is simple and it can easily be modified, probably into at least 27 different ways.  Hopefully, you find at least one way to share the trick.

Bonus video! This video goes beyond only 27 cards. You will see that (the number of cards) = (number of piles) ^ (number of times shuffled).

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