Learn a Magic Trick
Breaking the Laws
The magician displays an 8 by 8 inch square marked in one inch squares. With 8 inches on each side the total area is 8x8 or 64 square inches. He then divides the square into four pieces and rearranges them into a rectangle measuring 5 by 13 inches, or 65 square inches. Where did the extra square come from?
Draw a square like the one above (or click here to downlad this picture) and cut along the red lines. For large group showing the drawing should be made on heavy paper or thin cardboard. Glue a scrap of flannel or a magnet on the back so that the pieces can be arranged on a flannel or magnet board. Rearrrange as in the picture below.
When the pieces are rearranged they don't fit together perfectly. Each of the squares along the diagonal is a little bit smaller than one square inch and there is a long narrow space between the pieces (colored green in the picture below) that actually measures precisely one square inch.
The following is one message you can use with this effect and involves revealing the answer to the puzzle. You may want to devise other applications that keep the answer secret.
(Show the pieces arranged in a square)I have a big square here that is marked off into smaller squares. Now there are eight squares on each side, so how many squares are there altogether? (Note: Third or fourth graders should know that 8x8=64. If your audience is younger than that age, this trick will not be understood.) That's right, 8 times 8 is 64. Now, let's take the pieces and rearrange them like this (arrange as in the second picture). Now we have a rectangle that's 5 squares high and 13 across. How many does that make? 5 time 13 is 65! We've made an extra square by just rearranging the pieces! How could that happen? (Let the audience offer guesses as to how it might work, then continue).
|We really know that the pieces are the same size now as they were before, but it sure seems like we just got something for nothing. But the laws of nature and the laws of arithmetic tell us that what looks like getting a extra square is really just a trick. Sometimes people think they can get around God's laws and not suffer any consequences. They might tell a 'little' lie, or sneak out some small item without paying for it. It might be cheating a little on a test, or trying drugs "just once". And it might even look like they get away with it, just like it looks like we got an extra square here.
But God's spiritual laws can't be broken any more than the laws of nature can. If you look closely at this rectangle, you'll see a little bit of empty space between these pieces. That extra square that you thought was there is only emptiness. And if we try to break God's laws, emptiness is all we get. But the Good News is that by following God's plan, we can have all the fullness of life that He created us for. Not by our own trickery, by by His generosity and Love.|
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