BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — When in-person instruction came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, instructors at the Bend Science Station had to come up with innovative ways to continue hands-on activities for their students.
NewsChannel 21 met with some of the students and teachers at the school Wednesday.
“What I like about my classes here is I can absorb information, but I have fun doing it,” said Milo, a fifth-grade student.
Milo said he has taken classes at the Bend Science Station since he was in the third grade.
“My teachers are really kind and very understanding, and they’re almost friends to the kids,” he said.
The Bend Science Station has provided STEM education for more than 35,000 kindergarten through 12th grade students since its founding in 2002.
Before the pandemic, it typically served more than 7,000 kids and 200 teachers a year through its partnership with Bend-La Pine Schools and other youth-serving agencies.
Wednesday’s programs included two classes: one for third- through fifth-grade students to study sound and light waves, taught by instructor Danny Martin, and a crime scene simulation class for middle school students, taught by Science Station Executive Director David “Bermi” Bermudez.
“Bermi is really fun to work with, and I learn a lot more than just a basic school class,” said eighth-grader Killian.
NewsChannel 21 asked Bermi how he feels classes have changed due to the pandemic.
“It’s two sides to the coin, right?” he said. “(Fewer) students mean you can be more involved with them directly. And the spacing obviously is something that’s always on your mind, and wiping things down — it obviously takes more staff power.”
NewsChannel 21 and MidOregon Credit Union gave the Bend Science Station $500 for its One Class at a Time award.
Bermi said the program will use the money to buy a new 3-D printer, to replace their old one and give their students a chance to experiment with design and manufacturing.
He said their goal is to continue providing their students with the skills to succeed in STEM fields.
“Maybe in these classrooms, there’s the next microbiologist who helps find the cure for the next pandemic,” he said.
To learn more about the Bend Science Station and its upcoming classes, visit their website.