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The Incredible Magic Hooey Stick: Teacher Notes

John Banister-Marx


Typically, I would recommend that you have the high school woodshop make you a dozen or so of the Magic Hooey Sticks. This way you have a class set so that kids can play with them. I will be making 1000 hooey sticks for sale with the sole purpose of all profits going to my biology program at Camp Verde High School. They are available for sale at $2.00 each if you do not wish to make your own.


Once you have a set I recommend unfolding the drama as follows:

  1. Make name and date corrections on the top of the cover letter from the Psychic Centers of America. Make an overhead copy of the letter.

  2. Place a dozen Magic Hooey Sticks in a shipping box, along with the overhead copy of the cover letter. Seal it as if it were being shipped.

  3. Have the box delivered to your room by a staff member saying "this just arrived special delivery Ms/Mr. . . ." You act excited and open the box with the class looking on.

  4. Play with a magic hooey stick but fake having no success. Discover the cover letter and put it on your overhead and read it out loud to your class, being as serious as possible.

  5. After reading the magic mantra successfully operate the Hooey Stick. Try to convince the kids that you must have psychic powers (hopefully you have already covered the importance of skepticism, empiricism, and logic as the foundations of modern science). Some will question your ability. Let them offer various challenges ... "you're just blowing on it" -- so show them you can do it with your head turned, etc. Show them that you can even do it telepathically - - be sure to squint your eyes and grunt a little; look like this takes some effort - - great special effect. When they offer a challenge that would result in you not being able to actually make it work (like if they ask you to hold the rubbing stick in a way that would make it impossible to make the Hooey Stick propellar to change direction) say "Hey, there are about a dozen more in here, why don't you guys try it with me and see if you have psychic powers too."

  6. Read the mantra again with them and have them join you saying it out loud, in a "repeat after me style."

  7. Pass out the Magic Hooey Sticks, 1 per team of two, and watch them go to work. Funny sight!! If they ask to see what you are doing again, go ahead and demo again, but be sly. They will be observing very closely. Have discussion on the hooey stick results the next day so that they have had time to stew over it. Never deny your psychic powers.

    For adding a quantitative component you could have the students mass the hooey sticks and measure the lengths in metric units and then share data to create a histogram or line plot.


    Hope you enjoy it,

    John Banister-Marx
    john.banister-marx@tufts.edu


Making Hooey Sticks     Investigation     Answers     Letter




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