Above is Casey Murrow with his parents. He is grown up now and works at a place called Shelburne Farms (

dsc_2397_photo_3Casey used to publish a quite good Science magazine known as CONNECT and it may come in handy during our present Coronavirus calamity.

This COVID-19 virus is a crisis that is NOT going away. It is a deliberate bungling by the White House of a Scientific Pandemic Plan. The national nightmare we are now experiencing is ON PURPOSE. That makes us mad and it makes us very sad.

School districts are now trying to reopen under extremely, unsafe conditions. These bad decisions will cause a long nightmare of infection spread, hospitalization and death.

Many families are acutely aware of this treachery and are staying home with their students. It is hard on everyone but it is the best decision for right now. If you are now doing Science Work at home or in small learning pods what follows may be helpful.

Back in 2001 Casey Murrow and his Synergy Learning Staff produced a really solid list of ideas and materials for anyone messing about in the world of Science. Here is an inventory of some of their favorite tools & equipment. A lot of it is probably something you already have at home or could easily borrow from a neighbor or relative. Feel free to ask your school to LOAN you science equipment. If you are at home then the tools you need are sitting in a supply closet gathering dust. Take care of what is borrowed as you will have to replace what you lose or break. But beyond that, there are plenty of districts across the Coronavirus USA who are making up equipment kits on loan for home learning.

Safety First. Remember that science investigations can splash, slash and slop. So have at the ready as needed: safety goggles, an eye wash set up, a basic first aid kit and some kind of apron or cover to protect your clothing and skin.


Hand Magnifier of good quality. It can be plastic, low power and it helps if you can wear it on a string around your neck.

Hand Lens or pocket magnifier that folds into itself. Medium power and again worn on a string around the neck.


Transparent Plastic Container with magnifying lid. Sometimes called a Bug Box, these can be used to study plant life to to observe small creature and insects for a short period of time.


Binoculars. Love these, don’t you? Remember that “bi” means two and “oculus/oculi” is Latin for eye. So, for use with both eyes. Binoculars are great in field work or for looking out a window at birds, insects, squirrel, cloud formations and so forth.



Trundle Wheel or Meter Man Measuring Wheel clicks every meter or yard. These are super if you are measuring long distances. You will have to count the clicks and record the data.


Meter Stick and Yard Stick and Ruler. Also try to locate a plastic Tape Measure because it is safer, does not rust and is easier to use. At least one should be quite long, such as a 30 meter tape. Practice using metrics, inches, feet and yards. There are Apps for this now.


Another measuring tool is Calipers used to measure width and diameter of trees.




Measuring volume is almost always done metric. This is particularly true for upper grades. Many of these are available in homes that cook.

Measuring Beakers and Measuring Cylinders

Measuring Spoons come in sets that are both customary and metric.


Syringes come in plastic and in several sizes. There are no needles involved. They are used for measuring liquids and for  pneumatics projects.


Sand Timers enclosed in plastic for safety. Try to get several lengths of time. But for an even better science experience, build a sand timer of your own using two plastic bottles. There are plenty of descriptions found online. If sand isn’t handy, try using salt or soil or rice.

Again, there are now apps available for Stop Clock, Stopwatch and Timer.

Water Clock can be homemade and is a very ANCIENT method for measuring time. Time is measured by how long it takes water to flow or drip drip drip from one container to another. It is calibrated to accurate intervals.


And finally, thermometers. Measuring temperature can be done with a wall mount thermometer, a digital thermometer that is held under the arm, a forehead strip or a digital thermometer with a probe which is used for pond water or soil temps.

Don’t forget about meat and candy thermometers.

This is just a sample of what you can find by visiting Casey’s Synergy Learning website. There you will find past issues on Reptiles and Amphibians, Hot & Cold, Kids and Money, Field-Based Math, Geometry, Early Algebra, Oceans and so much more.

Unfortunately, Coronavirus is going to drag on precisely because Science-derived knowledge is being ignored. The Synergy tradition of hands-on science can help you stay on point until America gets her act together.

And Remember: “You’ve Got To Have The Stuff”