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Step 01
Think of a number.

Step 02
Multiply it by nine

Step 03

Step 04
Subtract five

Step 05
If A=1, B=2, C=3 … what letter is represented by the number you are thinking of now?

Step 06
Think of a country beginning with that letter

Step 07
Think of an animal beginning with the second letter of that country

Step 08
What is the color of that animal?

“There aren’t many grey elephants living in Denmark are there?”
Virtually everyone in the room will have thought of Denmark as their country and as elephant as their animal.

Is this magic?
You can now investigate the probability of this happening. Having first satisfied themselves that everyone will arrive at the letter D independently of their starting number, how many countries are there starting with D?

How many animals beginning with E? Of all the animals beginning with E how likely is a person to choose elephant? Perhaps a survey might answer this question.

Students could now be asked to make up for themselves a similar trick (but not using Elephants from Denmark). Try out the tricks on some other students and teachers.

Finally, a demonstration of tree diagrams can be used to explain the probabilities of these tricks working.

Math quotes
•    Tolstoy: “Some mathematician, I believe, has said that true pleasure lies not in the discovery of truth, but in the search for it.”
•    Carl Friedrich Gauss: “I have had my results for a long time: But I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them.”
•    Carl Friedrich Gauss: “Mathematics is the queen of science, and arithmetic the queen of mathematics.”
•    John von Neumann: “If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is.”
•    Plato: “I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning.”
•    Archimedes: “Give me a place to stand, and I will move the earth.”
•    Rene Descartes: “Perfect numbers like perfect men are very rare.”
•    Isaac Newton: “If I have been able to see further, it was only because I stood on the shoulders of giants.”