Virtual Idea Hub


Virtual Idea Hub Making and Tinkering Programs 

Looking for some creative hands-on learning experiences you can do from your kitchen table? Join the MIT Museum for our new weekly series bringing making and tinkering programs from our Idea Hub makerspace straight to your home. We’ll be using everyday materials easily found in your home or your local store to build, create, tinker, and engineer. Activities are designed for families with children in grades 4 and up, teachers, and youth group leaders.

We’re offering optional ways to explore certain topics with back-to-back weekly sessions that focus on different techniques. Try the first, then come back for the second and learn new skills. But no worries if you can’t make both. Each session will allow you to create a great project.

We’ll be live every Thursday afternoon at 4:00 over Zoom, being playful with science, engineering, and design, while chatting with friends from the MIT community. And you’re invited to join the conversation while we all build together! The sessions will last 20-30 minutes.

Before the live session begins, click through to the activity web page and have the necessary materials ready, then find a clean workspace where you can build and tinker while viewing the live webinar on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.


Upcoming Schedule and Topics

During April, as part of the Cambridge Science Festival, we’re building, testing, and connecting moving parts to create a community Virtual Chain Reaction. Attend a single session or come back each week to add more complexity to your creation. 

We'd love to see your work! Submit photos or videos of your finished project to and join our Virtual Chain Reaction Watch Party as we combine everyone's crazy contraptions into one big video! April 30, 7-8:30 pm. View on Zoom here.

Marble Machines
Create a fun marble run by experimenting with ways to control the speed and direction of the marble’s motion. Test out ramps of different slopes and shapes, create jumps and drops, and try various materials (smooth, rough, rigid, flexible) as rolling surfaces. Attend this session on its own or return each week to add more complexity to your creation! 
Thursday, 4/1 at 4:00 pm, Register 

Cranks and Cams 
Learn how to use cams to convert rotational (crank-turning) motion into linear (up-and-down) motion. Test a variety of movements and materials—there is a lot of room for creativity and experimentation. Attend this session on its own or return each week to add more complexity to your creation! 
Thursday, 4/8 at 4:00 pm, Register 

Pulleys and Pendulums
Tinker with mechanisms that use simple machines to redirect force and motion. Then incorporate those components into your contraption to change, slow down, and speed up the action. Attend this session on its own or return each week to add more complexity to your creation! 
Thursday, 4/15 at 4:00 pm, Register

Adding Art 
Get creative as you turn your crazy contraption into a work of moving art! Explore how visual elements and sound effects can add humor, make a statement, create a scene, or tell a story. Learn the guidelines to make a video of your contraption that can become a link in a huge community-built Virtual Chain Reaction! 
Thursday, 4/22 at 4:00 pm, Register


The MIT Museum aims to make its online programs accessible to as many individuals as possible. Live closed captioning services (CART) will be provided when requested at least two weeks in advance of a program. Please email to request CART services or suggest other accommodations that would help you fully participate in this program.