St. Matthew Enhances Science and Math Programs with Acquisition of 3D Printers
Hillsboro, Ore. (May 17, 2016) – The students at St. Matthew Catholic School are crowded around a table in the computer lab, peering over one another and talking excitedly. In front of them, a machine hums and beeps while working away, creating something small and round. They are watching one of the school’s new MakerBots – 3D printers from MakerBot® Industries, LLC – print a solid object that they created on a laptop down the hall using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software.
The new devices were recently purchased with funds from a generous grant from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust. "These 3D printers will be available to the students to use in conjunction with STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] lessons," said Joanne Smith, principal at St. Matthew School. "They will act as reinforcement to the current curriculum, and offer a way for our students to apply the science, math and design skills they are learning in the classroom through 3D printing and modeling."
The process of making a 3D object from a digital design, or 3D printing, has become more mainstream over the years. As its popularity has grown, so have the many project possibilities. Schools and learning institutions across the country are employing 3D printers to assist in teaching and learning various areas of study, including biology, chemistry, engineering, geography, architecture and engineering/design. 3D printing affords students the opportunities to build prototypes and test models, as well as the ability to modify digital creations, and then reprint adapted designs.
The St. Matthew faculty will incorporate 3D printing and modeling into their current classroom curriculum, providing the students opportunities to explore 3D printing applications and problem solving. "We are ultimately preparing them for the job markets of the future," said Smith. "They will be the professionals working in healthcare, manufacturing, and technology. They might even have jobs that don’t exist today. But whatever careers they pursue, the design experience they are gaining today will be invaluable."