SXSW Education Conference 2024

SXSW Education Conference 2024

This year's SXSW Education conference was a great success!

Senior MathHappens Team Kicking of SXSW Edu 

I was able to support MathHappens Foundation as an exhibitioner throughout the conference, and this was a great opportunity to bring our approach to math enrichment to an international audience.  We kicked off the booth with our senior team members:  Matt Hertel, Lauren Siegel, myself, Melissa Wilkinson and Christopher Danielson who came down to Austin from St. Paul, MN.  It was a great way for us to spend some time together as well as network with the conference attendees, and we even attended some conference sessions. 

My conference session highlights included a panel conversation titled, "The 2024 Election and How it Will Affect Higher Education", as well as a panel conversation titled "Finding your Leadership Soul". Both panels provided educational conversation, insights, and personal skill building opportunities.

The booth featured pictures of our outreach work in museums, libraries, through our math rooms and conference presentations, and was very busy all three days.  We brought a range of models and interactive displays including the platonic solid stack illusion for photos, actual platonic solids, infinity gum and some optical illusions to give away. Across the three days we attended sessions, met educators from all over the US and the world as well as some from right here in Austin. 


On day 3 we had some special guest facilitators from Austin School for the Driven, an innovative concept for middle school empowering students with a unique environment of experiential learning headed by Ken Hawthorn.  The students took turns working with Stefany and I, explaining the optical illusion, curry paradox and infinity gum to the booth visitors. They did a fantastic job!

                        Jordan Varat, Ken Hawthorn, and students from Driven   

      Booth in action    

Giveaways included the Curry Triangle Paradox – how is there one more space?, Infinity Gum – eat 1/2 at a time, never run out, and the Which One is Larger optical illusion.

 Curry Triangle Paradox   Infinity Gum   Which is Larger

Other exhibitor favorites of mine that I would like to highlight include StemfinityFuture Makers, and Formula 1 In Schools Nonprofit:

   Stemfinity: 1 stop STEM shop   Future Makers Booth   F1 in Schools

The SXSW education conference this year was full of explorative, innovative technologies and rich conversations and connections! I look forward to next year!

                                          Platonic Solid Jordan

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