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GE grant win expands 3D printing to all BC schools

Filed in Archive by on May 11, 2017

The Bethlehem Central School District has been awarded a grant through the GE Additive Education Program that will provide a 3D printer to each of the district’s seven schools.

According to Assistant Superintendent Dave Hurst who, along with Science Department Supervisor Jennifer Gonyea, applied for the grant, the polymer-based desktop printers are expected to be delivered this summer and will be available for use by students beginning in 2017-18.

“The printers come packaged with software and curriculum designed specifically to help students from elementary school through high school become familiar with 3D print technology,” said Hurst. “From an early age, our students will be able to gain hands-on learning that makes science and engineering concepts come to life.”

The grant program was introduced this year when GE Additive announced it would invest $2 million over the next two years to support 3D printing education for primary and secondary schools around the world.​ Preference in selecting the grant recipients was given to schools with teachers and programs that have shown a high level of commitment to STEM/STEAM initiatives. The Bethlehem Central School District has an active STEAM committee which explores ways to increase student learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM).

​GE Additive is a subsidiary of General Electric (GE) that specializes in 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. It is used by companies worldwide to “grow” manufacturing parts directly from a 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) file by adding material (plastic, metal, ceramic, etc.) layer upon layer and fusing each layer to the previous one to create a 3D object. 

“We look forward to introducing 3D printing at the elementary level and expanding student access at the secondary levels,” said Hurst. “This grant will help us do that.”

District residents who are interested in learning more about 3D printing are invited to stop by the high school Main Foyer (outside the cafeteria) on School Budget Vote Day, Tuesday, May 16 from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. where students will be demonstrating the technology.