MacKenzie Murgatroyd, a Grade 11 student at North Island Secondary School (NISS), has been working on a prototype bear proof ‘garbage can’ for the Town of Port McNeill.
During her Skills Exploration 11 course at NISS, which is a new program being offered this year, in collaboration with her Independent Studies 11 course, Murgatroyd has learned how to weld, machine, and use Computer Numerical Control (CNC) design. CNC involves a computer converting a design aided by design software into numbers. The numbers are the coordinates of a graph and they control the movement of the cutter.
“In the beginning of the semester we had a few options of things to do, and one of them was a garbage can,” said Murgatroyd. “It was a fun project to work on and you can always have more garbage cans.”
If Murgatroyd’s prototype design is successful, next school year students in shop classes at NISS will begin fabricating and selling their product throughout the North Island. “I never worked with metal in Grade 8 and 9, so it was really cool to actually get to learn more skills in Shop Class,” said Murgatroyd, adding that she had never welded before, “but now I really like it.”
“We plan to have Mackenzie unveil it at a Port McNeill Town Council meeting,” said Principal Jay Dixon. “With community-based projects like this, it provides them with ‘ownership’ of the North Island. They’re learning how to give back to the community and they really take pride in seeing their projects located around town.”
NISS Shop Teacher John Bramham said that he just wants his students “to develop the skills they already have and also learn new skills.”
Classes like these where students get to work hands on and build things “makes learning relevant,” said Dixon. “It makes learning enjoyable, and it’s giving them skills they can take into the real world. NISS is their school and this is their community, and we want them to be proud of both. We want students to get more and more involved in the community and we want NISS to be a relevant and meaningful centre for learning on the North Island.”