The Magician's Apprentice


Teaching the skill of following directions requires a little hocus-pocus in this lesson. Students follow informational directions to re-create magic tricks, use a rubric to evaluate the clarity of the instructions, and summarize and rewrite the instructions on index cards in order to teach an apprentice how to perform a trick. 

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
GLE 0301.6.1
Apply appropriate reading strategies to comprehend informational texts.
GLE 0401.6.1
Apply skills and strategies to comprehend informational texts.
GLE 0401.6.2
Recognize the different text features of informational texts (e.g., separate text boxes, diagrams, captions, charts, graphs).
GLE 0501.6.1
Apply appropriate skills and strategies to comprehend informational texts (e.g., pre-reading strategies, comprehension strategies, graphic organizers,...
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 


  • follow directions to perform a magic trick
  • assess the quality of the instructions with a rubric
  • teach a partner how to perform the magic trick.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 

MysteryNet Kids Mysteries offers three Magician's Rules:

  • Keep the secret a secret.
  • Do the trick only once.
  • Practice before you perform.

Based on their experience, ask the students to explain why magicians often follow these rules.

Assume the role of Melmoe the Magnificent and choose three outstanding sets of instructions created by students. Use the instructions and cue cards to perform the magic tricks for your class. Afterward, explain each trick with the students' directions, and have the students tell why these directions work so well.

Helpful Hints

Materials Needed:

  • index cards
  • paper
  • pencils
  • Internet access (optional)

If using the online magic tricks cited, the following materials will be needed:

  • coins
  • handkerchiefs
  • straws
  • decks of cards
  • clear plastic tumblers
  • construction paper
  • pencils
  • scissors
  • glue
  • carrots
  • toothpicks