Back to School 2019 Lesson

Lesson - Educational Innovations BlogThe Index Card Illusion Trick

Tami O’Connor, EI’s Educator-in-Chief, swears by this brain stumper activity as an icebreaker lesson for the first day of school..  Getting it ready is simple… but figuring it out isn’t quite as easy!

For instructions on creating this mysterious card, click here .

Materials (per team):

♦    a stack of index cards (3″ x 5″)  – must be unlined
♦    1-2 index card (4″ x 6″) – lined or unlined, your choice
♦    scissors
♦    clear tape


Break your class into teams of 3-4 students..  For each team, pass out a set of materials (above) as well as a sample of the final card.

Challenge the teams:

“Working together, can you duplicate this,
using nothing but index cards, scissors, and
some tape?  The only rule is:  you cannot
remove the tape from the sample.”  

That’s all it takes!  According to Tami,

“Students dive right in..  Within just a few minutes, the entire class is actively working to solve the problem..  They’re applying the scientific method, they’re testing out hypotheses, they’re using trial and error—all without realizing!  

It’s a hands-on activity that fosters teamwork, communication, and cooperation skills.  Plus, it’s a nifty trick they can take home to stump their parents.

As a teacher, you’ll learn a great deal about your new students.  Will they work well in groups?  Who is a leader?  Who is content to let others take charge?  Who is easily distracted?  This information will be helpful when determining lab groups and/or seating charts.

While students work, it will also give you an opportunity to conduct housekeeping chores.  Pass out books, collect and compile forms, assign seats, etc.

This activity should keep them busy for a while, but if a group finishes early, be sure to have something for them to do so they won’t share the solution!”

Looking Back at Back to School 2015

In our first Back to School newsletter, we offered a selection of icebreakers, humor, videos, lesson ideas and more.  Well worth a revisit!

Back to School Newsletter - Educational Innovations Blog

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3 Responses to Back to School 2019 Lesson

  1. Matthew Batz says:

    Not metric measurements?? 😉

    • Tami O'Connor says:

      Good point, Matthew! I suppose I used Imperial measurements because that’s how you typically find index card measurements listed on the packaging. We should have included both 🙂

      Educational Innovaitons

  2. ladder says:

    I’ve recently started a blog, the information you provide on this website has helped me tremendously. Thanks for all of your time work.Thanks!

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