This project is worth checking out.
Margaret Wertheim leads a project to re-create the creatures of the coral reefs using a crochet technique invented by a mathematician.
In this video presentation, she presents shows how a feminine art form can best demonstrate the hyperbolic geometry of coral. She and her sister have started a global art project to raise awareness of the devastating effects of global warming on coral reefs. They also have an educational initiative--holding the belief that playing with physical objects is a wonderfully rich way to engage with abstract, mathematical concepts. Margaret references Froebel and his invention of kindergarten as a place to play and engage in the sensorial aspect of learning. She doesn't mention Maria Montessori or Reggio Emilia, but these methods are also in line with the same principles.
She is calling the "play tank" kindergarten for adults. Vygotsky would've loved this!http://www.ted.com/talks/margaret_wertheim_crochets_the_coral_reef....