Members of the robotics club at Nakusp Secondary School work on projects for the 2017 RoboGames in Nelson. On average

Stepping into the future at Nakusp Secondary School

A robotics club has been formed at the school, offering the chance for students to try something a little different.

From programming a computer to reading the numbers on a barcode at a cash register, coding and robotics are everywhere in this day and age.

Including at Nakusp Secondary School (NSS) as part of the new robotics club.

Ken Barisoff, the technology teacher at NSS thought forming the club would be a good opportunity for students to get involved with something that is quickly becoming part of everyday life for many people.

Students involved in the club use robotics kits and work with small devices called arduinos, which come in various shapes and sizes.

“Basically they’re a little computer chip and they’re actually called microcontrollers,” he said. “They can actually control things by writing code to them from a computer program.”

Barisoff said many things operate using microcontrollers including car heaters, coffee makers, even modern record players. He feels if students get to know about these things at a young age, it could spark an interest and potential career opportunities could follow.

“The more variety we have, the more opportunities for students. It enriches the culture around here, I think,” he said.

There are about 12 students in the club right now, of all grades and ages.

One of those students is Jack Watt, a new arrival to NSS.

He heard about the club when Barisoff posted a notice about it on during one of his electronics classes, and thought it would be a fun thing to take part in.

“I’ve had some experience with these boards at home and I’m really interested in it and would like to continue that,” he said.

Watt said one of the things he enjoys about being in the robotics club is having the chance to hang out with friends, doing something they all enjoy.

The club hopes to take part in the RoboGames in Nelson. There are five categories for the games, including an obstacle course, line following, and battle bots. Club members are particularly interested in building a battle bot for the games.

Despite its small size, with around 148 students in the school, many of these students are athletically inclined. Some are on several of the many sports teams, including basketball, soccer, volleyball, and skiing and snowboarding.

Having a club like this offers students at the school chance to do something different, and try something they might not have thought of trying otherwise.

“I’m sure these guys are not anti-athletic people, but being athletic and having these kinds of interests makes a well-rounded person, I think,” said Barisoff. “I always encourage kids to try a little bit of everything to see what they’re interested in.”


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