1 Pick 1 or 2 classic sleight of hand illusions. Learn and practice it.

We learn a trick

  • Pick a classic sleight of hand illusion from the list below. Learn and practice it. Be ready to perform it by the next session.
  • Record a short video of yourself practicing your illusion.
  • Become aware and count how many times you hear the word "magic" used in your environment. Note in what context it is used.

Materials Needed for this Assignment:

Amazon logo Berglas, Marvin. 110 Amazing Magic Tricks with Everyday Objects. Marvin's Magic.

  • "The Travelling Coin." p. 32.
  • "Turn Over Card." p. 16.
  • "Where Are The Matches?" p. 34.


Amazon logo Pogue, David. Magic for Dummies. For Dummies, 1998. ISBN: 9780764551017.

  • "The Shuffling Lesson." p. 207.
3 Perform your trick then engage in class critique and discussion. Begin to amplify your Trick++: Take a standard magic trick and augment it in some way using technology or neuroscience to create a "Marco Tempest style" cyber-illusion.
4 No design exercise for this session. Document yourself developing and practicing your Trick++.

Start developing your midterm project. The midterm can be a substantial refinement of the Trick++ assignment or it could be something completely new.

Creating a Dungeons & Dragons Character Assignment Guidelines (PDF)

Materials Needed for this Assignment:

  • Dungeons & Dragons Character Sheet, Fifth Edition. Click "Fifth Edition Character Sheets" to download. Use the file named "DnD_5E_CharacterSheet - Form Fillable.pdf".
  • Amazon logo Wizards RPG Team. Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook. 5th ed. Wizards of the Coast, 2014. ISBN: 9780786965601.
Student Work Example
Creating a Dungeons & Dragons Character Assignment (PDF) – Used with permission. Courtesy of an MIT student.
6 Dragon Rising Game

This game design assignment is inspired by the study of Dungeons & Dragons and its game mechanics and history. The goal of this group assignment is to give students experience using game mechanics to depict a particular storytelling idea or setting.

Design a game based on the idea of training a dragon. Feel free to use dice, cards, coins, role-playing, and any other game ingredients to do this. Be sure to include iterative play-testing as a part of your process.


Apply the principles of this week's lecture to your midterm project.

7 No design exercise for this session. Continue developing your midterm project.
8 No design exercise for this session. Midterm project and presentation due this session.

Build Your Own Markov Chain Bot

Expanding on an in-class discussion of Twitter bots, this assignment shows current creative uses to which generative text is incorporated in social media. For this assignment, build your own Twitter bot using this tutorial, which was created using an open source software tool called Bother.

For more information on the source code of this tutorial and examples of interesting bots, read Bother – A One-Page Framework for Learning Bot-Making.


Create your final project proposal.

10 No design exercise for this session.
11 Dry run of final projects.
12 No design exercise for this session. Final project and presentation due this session.

Student Work Example

Emergence | A trick in 3 Parts – final project by Jonathan Bobrow 

For my final project, I wanted to string a narrative between the disparate projects I had been working on throughout the semester. A growing fascination with emergent behavior and biologically inspired interactions led me to develop some simple tools for exploring these phenomena, both for real investigation as well as some fun with a supposed investigation. When mentioning emergence with regard to design, behavior, or systems, I am always asked for clarification, so it only seemed natural to discuss the concept of emergence and have some fun with it.