Educational Materials: June 2017, Build It!

June 2017: Build It

The Tools of Science

Whether you're a scientist in the lab, an inventor in the Maker movement, or just tinkering with a passion project on the weekend, tools are essential for getting the job done. In this month's theme we explore some of the basic, but most useful tools, we use to build everything from bookshelves to skyscrapers.

Safety Glasses

Safety is always important. This is especially true when working with materials that are sharp, or may break or splash, and get into your eyes. Used in pretty much all fields of science and engineering, safety glasses keep people safe every day. Safety glasses are used by chemists mixing chemicals in research labs, mechanical engineers in machine shops, and even high schoolers in the classroom! These important pieces of equipment protect our eyes from flying debris, spills, and a variety of other potentially dangerous materials!


When creating anything from a building to a bookshelf, it’s important to make sure it is completely flat and level. If a skyscraper isn’t level at its bottom (even a little bit) it will lean dangerously to one side and could even collapse! Levels are tools builders use to make sure every part of a structure is flat and level. A level has three different tubes filled with liquid, with one bubble in each tube. When the level is completely flat each bubble will be in the center of its tube. It’s a simple tool, but a very effective one!


Rulers are an important tool that let us measure distances in a straight line. Some rulers use the metric system, while others use the imperial system. The metric system uses units such as centimeters and millimeters, while the imperial system uses units such as inches and feet. Rulers help us in math class and they can also help architects and engineers make measurements as they design new parts and buildings.


The Maker Movement!

Do you like making things? We’re talking anything from watercolor paintings to LEGO towers or dresses. If you do, then you’re part of the maker movement! This is a movement that is encourage people to create. 

At Sci Chic, we use 3D printing to create our jewelry and are dedicated makers in our free time as well. We encourage you to take part in the maker movement too, and make new things to bring your ideas into the world.

You can find videos of us making our science jewelry on our YouTube channel here!



Calipers are an essential tool for makers, mechanical engineers, and machinists alike. This tool allows accurate measurements to be taken with ease.. It can be used to make measurements between two different surfaces, as well as measure around two surfaces. Digital calipers display the measurement on an easy to read screen, while manual calipers allow the user to take the reading off of the tool like a ruler.


Screwdriver Heads

Screwdrivers are one of the most common tools, and one of the most important. Whether you’re assembling a store bought table or repairing a tractor, they allow you to attach many different pieces and devices. However, we need many different types of screwdrivers to match the many different types of screws. The most common types of screwdrivers are Slot head, Phillips-head, and Allen wrenches. However, there are also less common ones like Torx and Robertson.

The diagram of our Fascinating Fasteners Necklace below features, from left to right, Philips head, Allen wrench, Slot head, and Torx drive fasteners. 

Depending on where they are being used, different head types are needed. Slot heads (aka flat head)  and Phillips-head screws are cheaper to make, but can be more prone to slipping and stripping.Slot head screws are great for furniture and cabinets where they are not going to have a larger amount of force applied. 






Whether building in a garage or in a machine shop, vises are important to allow you to securely grip onto objects. They are made up of two jaws that can move closer together and further apart through the rotation of a screw. Whether being used for gripping wood or metal, they are essential to the job of a machinist. They allow for both hands to be free to work on a part, which makes their job easier and safer.

June's STEM Star 

Our theme for June is “Build It,” which celebrates the tools of science! From screwdrivers to calipers, wrenches to bubble levels, for us, this month is all about the tools we use to build and study, create and discover!

It seems only appropriate, then, that this month’s STEM Star is someone intimately involved with the maker movement. What’s the maker movement, you ask? Well, Wikipedia describes it as “a social movement with an artisan spirit in which the methods of digital fabrication—previously the exclusive domain of institutions—have become accessible at a personal scale.” Put more simply, it’s a movement of people making things, and encouraging you to join in! If you’ve got a passion for making -- anything from paper cutting to battle robots to 3D printing -- then you’re a part of the maker movement!

Our STEM Star this month is the one and only Kim Dow! For many years now, Kim Dow has been the Maker Faire Art Director! It’s a huge responsibility that gives her a lot of control over Maker Faire’s image. But don’t let us tell you about her, why not hear it straight from our June STEM Star herself?

How would you describe Maker Faire to someone who has never heard of it before?

I usually describe it as a cross between a science fair, arts and crafts fair, and county fair, with a little bit of Burning Man for families thrown in for good measure. Over the last few years, the technology part of it has gotten increasingly advanced to the point that “science fair” probably doesn’t quite do it justice. There is an impressive amount of mind-boggling tech.

 Read the full interview

Behind the Scenes Video


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