Through exhibits that explore everything from astronomy and physics to biology and paleontology, the Science Factory inspires a lifelong love of science in children as well as adults. Above all else, the nonprofit embraces a motto of "please touch," creating safe, engaging opportunities for children to act on their curiosity and gain insight into the principles underlying scientific and technological theories.
The Exploration Dome exemplifies the immersive nature of the Museum, surrounding audiences with a full-dome screen that displays digital and live-action films. These educational features can take guests to virtually any location in the world and beyond, including the heart of the Borneo rainforest, the depths of prehistoric oceans, the edge of our galaxy's super-massive black hole, and a universe where popcorn kernels never get stuck in your teeth. Permanent exhibits—including a feature on responsible recycling as well as a terrarium of lizards, frogs, and plants, complete with Renegade, the Museum's resident iguana—explore topics in more depth, complementing both the Exploration Dome’s videos and an ever-changing roster of special attractions.
The team at Noteworthy Learning doesn't just notice when kids struggle with reading, long division, and other key skills. They investigate the root cause of the problem, which usually stems from a weakness in one of 27 learning aptitudes. From there, they create a personalized curriculum that builds on each kids' unique strengths, such as seeing hot lava monsters invisible to adults.
This approach can be especially helpful for educational transitions, such as the start of high school or college. And thanks to an experienced leader, Sue Luker, the team is equipped to deal with them all. She draws on more than 35 year as a public school teacher, plus a masters degree in curriculum design, to advise her team on designing their programs. The results have given kids ages K-12 the upper academic hand, including children with special needs.
Instructors are certified by the NRA and the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification. As further evidence of their skills, they wrote a companion book for their concealed-handgun-license students and are both "Refuse to be a victim" and hunter's safety instructors.
Oregon Concealed's instructors prepare their students to pass concealed-firearm-permit exams in Utah and Oregon with both in-person and online classes. Taking care to address every aspect of the process, they take photos and fingerprints of students and give out certifications for concealed-carry-license applications. To round out their course offerings, they also teach handgun safety classes.
Ever since taking childhood piano lessons, Susane Reis has tickled the ivories in college, graduate school, and while touring with bands throughout the US. It wasn't until moving to Eugene, however, that she encountered the perfect tool for teaching the instrument to future generations of pianists: the Harmony Road music method. Rooted in group classes, the comprehensive program helps children aged 18 months to 12 years train their ears, refine their keyboard skills, and even write their own compositions.
Once they have three to four years of piano experience under their belt, pupils can enroll in The Eugene Piano Academy, LLC's private lessons. In these sessions, Susane and her fellow teachers further hone students' skills by focusing on everything from jazz improvisation to playing entire Bach concertos with just your nose.
At the Oregon Photography School, a duo of skilled shutterbugs with a combined 27 years of experience imparts the secrets of snapping and manipulating artistic images to pupils of all stripes. Vernon T. Williams has conveyed the dignity of famous subjects, including two presidential candidates and a Nobel Prize winner, and his work has appeared in The Economist and other national magazines. Jon Christopher Meyers boasts an eclectic commercial-work portfolio, with recent work including the Eugene Ballet Company's midair athleticism and hawks flying midair from the Cascades Raptor Center.
The school draws on Williams's and Meyers's rich backgrounds to inform intensive workshops on everything from the basics of film- and digital-camera manipulation to portrait photography's finer techniques, such as hypnotizing a subject with nothing but a piece of string tied to a lens cap. After an in-studio or on-location class, an online student/instructor-review tool continues the relationship, letting students post their shots for ongoing feedback and for inspirational haikus from their instructor and fellow photographers.