A Mathematical Card Trick Activity

4.1 based on 19 ratings
Updated on Jul 10, 2014

Teach your child a fun magic trick! All you'll need is a deck of cards and some basic addition, subtraction, and multiplication skills. Your student will love the excitement of using magic (well...more math than magic really) as he practices his computation skills. Allow him to perform the trick in front of the whole family! After playing a few times, challenge your child to help you figure out why this trick works.

What You Need:

  • Deck of playing cards
  • Pencil and scratch paper (for computation)

What You Do:

  1. Find someone to trick.
  2. Ask that person to pick a card from the deck and keep it secret.
  3. Have him double the face value of the card (aces = 1, jacks = 11, queens = 12, and kings = 13).
  4. Ask him to add 3 to their result.
  5. Ask him to multiply this by 5.
  6. Have them add 1 if his card is a club, 2 if it is a diamond, 3 if it is a heart, and 4 if it is a spade.
  7. Ask them to tell you their number.
  8. To predict the card, subtract 15 from the final total. The right digit of the answer represents the suit of the card (1 = club, 2 = diamond, 3 = heart, 4 = spade). The left digit or digits is the number value of the card. For example, if their result is 83, the card is the 8 of hearts. If the result is 134, the card is the king of spades.

Can you figure out how this trick works?

How likely are you to recommend Education.com to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely