Artists and Inventors

Outreach programs are designed for students in grades 3-12.

Requests for program information or scheduling should be directed to Desiree Brunton at or 401-473-9174.

Rube Goldberg Marble Roller Coaster

Learn about the wonderfully inventive cartoon creations of Rube Goldberg and the real “Rube Goldberg machines” they inspire.  Explore the connection between potential and kinetic energy by using tubes, tape and other house hold materials to create creative marble “roller coasters”.  Send marbles on loop-the-loops, spirals and more in attempts to have the marble travel through over 6 feet of tubing and then – at the end of its journey –start another reaction in the spirit of Rube Goldberg.

What they are saying: “That was awesome!” – male participant 11-19 years of age

“It was really fun, I learned a lot, thank you” – female participant 11-19 years of age

“I love working with complex things like this” – male participant age 10 or under

“This is the best library program ever!! (can you do this again?) – female participant age 10 or under

“What a fantastic program.  We really enjoyed creating the marble roller coaster! We will now create one at home! Thank you so much!” – female participant age 40 or over

We’ve had several requests for the Rube Goldberg movie shorts we show during this program. The one with high school students can be found at:

Please be aware that at the very end of this video one of the students, so impressed by their work, says an expletive in admiration.  It is bleeped out – but we stop the video early, before the comment,  in presentations.

The music video by “OK GO” can be found at:

Andy Goldsworthy Nature Inspired Art

Observe the unique way in which artist Andy Goldsworthy uses the natural environment – and ONLY the natural environment- to build deceptively simple works of engineering art.  Use natural materials to construct Goldsworthy inspired sculptures.  Weather permitting, this class will be held outdoors. Weather not permitting, it can be held indoors.

What they are saying:

“The artist you showed us really inspired me. Can you come every year?” – participant aged 10

“I would of gave it #100! it was so……. fun!” [sic] – participant aged 10

Leonardo DaVinci/ Gears and Simple Machines

Where did Leonardo DaVinci’s inventions come from?  No single individual defines the idea of a Renaissance man better than Leonardo DaVinci – an artist, scientist, architect, engineer and inventor.  Using the natural world and DaVinci as inspiration, students will design and build 3D models of simple machines that move!

Buckminster Fuller Tensegrity Sculptures

Explore the art and innovation of Buckminster Fuller. Fuller invented the geodesic dome and influenced many advancements in architecture and modern day bridges. Create your own tensegrity sculptures out of every day materials using Fuller as inspiration. Tensegrity structures use the forces of tension to hold things together.

Hone your skills of observation through exploring perspective drawing in history. Challenge yourself to see and draw with specific detail, use mathematical drawing techniques to create illusions of depth, and understand 2D drawing  illusions. Create your own 3D perspective drawings inspired by the artists and innovators in this field.