NEW BEDFORD — New Bedford Public Schools have been awarded a $240,000 Mass. Life Sciences STEM grant, the largest grant of its kind in the state.

The money will go towards establishing a Capstone Life Sciences College and Career Program in the district to create collaborative workspaces for young scientists, according to a release from the New Bedford Public Schools.

It is the largest grant awarded among the more than 90 schools receiving MLSC science grant funding in Massachusetts.

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The planned Capstone Life Sciences program is designed to help students transition from middle school to high school life sciences.

As part of the program, a collaborative workspace called a “makerspace” will be constructed at each of the district’s three middle schools and at New Bedford High School.

These spaces will be equipped with materials and tools for project-based, hands-on learning.

The grant will serve all New Bedford Public Schools students, including those in alternative schools.

Dr. Ron Ho, New Bedford High School Science Instructional Leader, authored the grant.

“Capstone projects are not common in middle school, but we see them as important to fully prepare our students for high school and beyond and to increase vertical alignment," he explained.

"As we upgrade the technological infrastructure, students will learn design thinking and use makerspace materials and state-of-the-art tools such as 3D printers and laser-cutting equipment to practice STEM concepts.”

Funding will also enable expanded professional development for teachers in STEM instruction (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

"Think of the new makerspace as a high-tech LEGOLAND®," commented Superintendent Thomas Anderson. "Students will learn science by doing, and love doing it.”

"These learning experiences will help students develop the 21st-century employability and technical skills that are needed in the life sciences industry," added Dr. Ho. "We are very pleased to work with MLSC to build a pipeline for a talented and diverse life sciences workforce in the State of Massachusetts.”

 

Since 2012, the MLSC has awarded $21.5 million to more than 240 high schools and middle schools throughout Massachusetts.

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