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Grant Brings 3D Printing and Laser Cutting to Makerspaces in New Bedford Schools

Courtesy New Bedford Public Schools
Dr. Ron Ho (second from left) works with science students at New Bedford High School.

Four new makerspaces, featuring 3D printers and laser cutting machines, are coming to the New Bedford Public Schools.

The district won a $240,000 grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center to build the hands-on learning laboratories in each of its three middle schools and New Bedford High School.

The makerspaces could be operational within the coming school year, according to Ron Ho, New Bedford High School’s Science Instructional Leader.

Ho said the labs will prepare students for jobs in the state’s innovation economy, especially in the field of biotech. “I would like the 3D printers to be used to create life sized models for several different human organs,” said Ho, “for students to learn more about the different life science concepts.”

Chris Cummings, the district’s Manager of Career Vocational Technical Education, says the makerspaces will fuel collaboration. Students will build capstone projects as a group, which they’ll share in a year-end life sciences fair. “We want to provide the environment for students to be able to collaborate and problem solve together, because that's what they'll be doing in the workforce,” said Cummings.

“There’s a great deal of continued growth in the life sciences and advanced manufacturing,” he added. “So it’s all about training for these future careers.”