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Austin Living Math

Project: Fibonacci spirals and candy mobius strips

Exhibit hands-on activity: making mobius bands out of candy-by-the-foot and Fibonacci spirals on produce

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Bio: Austin Living Math is a different kind of math group, where you experience math the way it really happens: in real life connected to everything. Math is everywhere. It is in poems, music, dance, pineapples, science, philosophy, even in the beat of hummingbird wings. In real life, people do not live one subject at a time. In real life, people learn in a variety of ways, most efficiently by mentoring with their peers and via hands-on projects. This is Austin Living Math.

Did you know the first mathematicians were philosophers, scientists, poets, monks, and that math was not singled out as a separate subject originally? That was a wise approach, because math is everywhere. Dubious? Watch a Vi Hart video!

Austin Living Math integrate history, philosophy, art, culture, science, and math so their kids see that these subjects don't exist in isolation, but rather developed through real life struggles, dangers, and discoveries. To learn math, one must learn about the mathematicians, the times and culture they lived in, the risks they took to pursue their discoveries, the historical stage that was at play when the math characters were making their discoveries. Without this, math is just numbers on paper.

Austin Living Math is bringing all of this to life for their students, who will never just think of the Pythagorean Theorem as simply a math formula in a book, for example. These folks know that Pythagoras taught that planets have vibrational sounds (and he was right) and that he included women in his secret Pythagorean movement - and that he was considered a threat and was exiled from Greece. They'll know about the rope stretchers of Egypt, the Babylonians who measured everything, the symbolism of the number 10, who really invented Arabic numbers, and who really created the Fibonacci sequence.

There are no textbooks in this group. Austin Living Math uses "living" books, from biographies to coffee table books. They use the curriculum at as a base and explore in further detail where curiosity takes them - beginning with the birth of numbers in ancient times and progressing through ancient China, India, the development of Indian/Arabic numbers, Egyptian math, Thales, and Pythagoras. The journey will continue through the ancient Greek era, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, through modern times - through Asia, Africa, the Americas - all over the world. Austin Living Math kids (and their adults) make musical instruments and music, turn food into art, turn math into art, make videos and websites, test theorems, design projects that fulfil their interests.

If this resonates with you, contact us to visit the group!


Shannon Rizzo launched Austin Living Math in 2012, envisioning a homeschooling math group in which kids experience math the way it really happens: in real life and connected to other subjects, through hands-on projects and mentoring while being mentored, with the kids taking charge of their education.

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