Sometimes math can be used for trickery. There are card tricks that utilize math in order to amaze others. Then there are just some calculations that appear to hold true but really “hide” a small truth from people who may not see it.

Example:

a = x

(add a to both sides)

a + a = a + x

(combine like terms)

2a = a + x

(subtract 2x from both sides)

2a – 2x = a + x – 2x

(combine like terms)

2a – 2x = a – x

(factor out a 2)

2 (a – x) = a – x

(divide both sides by a – x)

2 = 1

Hmmm… That doesn’t make sense. There’s a mathematical fact that isn’t explicit here but with knowledge of it, you won’t be fooled by the conclusion here that 2 equals 1. Do you know what it is?

While you’re working on that, check out Math-Fail.com for some math-related funnies.