How We Drove the Kids Bonkers at Thanksgiving (While Teaching Critical Thinking)

Geek Culture

Setup for driving the kids crazy. (Image: Kate Miller)

My brother Jon and I have a psychic connection through the ether. No, really!

Magic has been on our minds lately, what with a recent visit to the strange and moody Houdini exhibit at the Jewish Museum in New York, as well as some lively discussions about The Amazing Randi and his longstanding million dollar prize waiting for somebody, anybody, to prove something paranormal.

So when Jon and I brought up our thrilling psychic skills at the Thanksgiving table, we were met with a wall of skepticism. It was a steep, thick wall constructed mainly out of eye-rolling and cries of “Yeah, right” from the children’s table. Jon and I were undaunted.

We set up some cards as shown and the kids gathered around. As Jon turned his back to the table, we demanded quiet to clear and stabilize our ether channel. (“Come on, Mom, stop with the ether baloney!”) Then one of the kids selected a card by silently pointing to it. I said, “OK, ready, Jon?” and proceeded to call out some cards one by one. At each one, Jon said, “No, that’s not it.” At the fifth card, which was the card, Jon said, calm as Xanax, “Yes.”

The kids exploded. “Oh, come on, that’s so easy!” they crowed, yelling out how they thought we did it. And so began the Great Hypothesis Testing of 2010.

[To read more about this lesson in critical thinking, visit GeekMom!]

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