Innov8 Courses​: Facilitating innovation through collaboration, critical thinking and communication.

Scroll across to view videos about the Innov8 courses for the fall of 2020.   Problem based learning and design thinking are at the heart of developing projects that are made public and impact the community.

Course Descriptions:


Haley Topper

Beginning Robotics: Intro to Self Driving Cars

In this course, you will learn how to program a robot, using block language, to function like a self-driving car. The final product will be a robot that can navigate a road like course and do things like stop at stop signs and avoid objects in the road. No prior coding experience necessary.


Ellie Walsh-Moots


Students will use historical inquiry to examine celebrations of the past in a particular time period. Working together as a class to analyze the context of the time, students will also collaborate with a small group to recreate a specific historic celebration. Students may choose to explore in-depth particular aspects of celebration, including food culture, fashion and textiles, entertainment, and many more. Students will also design the method of re-creation and are encouraged to combine written, spoken, and tangible elements in their final product. Ultimately, students in this innov8 will strive to answer “Why and how do we celebrate?” and “How does examining celebrations in the past help us to better understand our present?

Amanda Peper and Susan Deely

Conquering the ACT

Although many colleges are waiving this year's standardized test requirement for applicants, earning a solid score on the ACT can set you apart from a large pool of applicants. In this Innov8 course, students will learn the structure and format of the ACT, all four subject tests, and the essay portion. Students will learn strategies and tips tailored to each section to maximize their performance. Each trimester will span multiple ACT testing dates, maximizing students' learning and test preparation. By the end of the course, students will have taken and analyzed the equivalent of three to five full-length practice ACT tests. All students who are registered for this course are required to purchase an unused, physical copy of The Official ACT Prep Guide, 2020-2021 Edition (Wiley). The book can be purchased on Amazon, or you can find copies at Barnes & Noble or other local bookstores. Students enrolled in this course will also receive free access to an additional online test-prep program. The Fall Trimester course is open to seniors and juniors.

Mark Crowley.jpeg

Introduction to Public Speaking

Mark Crowley

Do you get tired of people not agreeing with you? Do you get nervous or frustrated when you have to speak in front of even a small group of strangers? You are not alone! No matter what your current level of skill or comfort with expressing yourself to others, Introduction to Public Speaking can help you. Whether you love speech & debate and want to work on some of the finer points of your PVLEGS or if you get nervous at even the thought of speaking up in class, come be a part of Mr. Crowley’s Introduction to Public Speaking course.


Gaming the System: Examining Equity through Game Design

Bryan Melcher

When did you first learn to play fair? In Gaming the System: Examining Equity through Game Design, students will ask “how can I teach people to play fair?” by developing games as teaching tools to educate others on chosen areas of inequity. As a student in this course, you will explore the ins-and-outs of an issue you care about, and develop a game that will pass on what you learned to a specific audience. Take this class and create a game that might live on forever. You never know, you might make the next Monopoly (but hopefully your game will be more fun)!


Gear it Up! Advanced Robotics

Rebecca Jansing-Kaestner

In Gear It Up!, we will be working together to create robots that can do useful work in our community. The focus will be on motors, gears, and sensors to create an autonomous robot. In the end, you will showcase your robot to community members and fellow engineers. Beginning Robotics will be a prerequisite for the course


Haiti Love

Jennifer Dye

Haiti Love allows students to learn about Haiti, her people, the culture and their needs. While Partnering with Haiti 180, a non-profit organization that operates an orphanage, elderly home, a school and a medical clinic, students identify problems and needs of the people in the village. Teams form to develop solutions to those problems in an effort to take those solutions to the people through our mission teams that travel each summer. Everyone can be a missionary even if they never travel to Haiti by working to solve challenges to critical needs in Haiti through the Haiti Love Innov8 class.


Introduction to Video Game Design

Luke Diamond

At the end of this course, you will have successfully created an interactive, online video game that you can play with your friends and family. You will use the Python programming language to create a version of the 1972 Atari classic, Pong. You should take this course if you are interested in programming or video game design. No prior experience is necessary.


Show me the Money

Kyle Reynolds

Have you heard the saying “you can be anything you want to be”? You can, but you may not live the lifestyle that you are accustomed to. We take a deep dive into all things financial (career path and salaries, stocks, investing, saving, behavioral finance, debt etc) and help layout a roadmap to a life of financial freedom. You will pick a career, develop a budget, and  see how you manage your money over time.  At the end, you and your partner will see how well you have invested and spent your money for your retirement plan.


KNIGHT Tank: Enterprising Entrepreneurship in the 21st Centrury

Kim Childress

In this course, teams comprising four students will attempt to commercialize a business concept (of their design and with faculty/mentor approval) through the pre-funding stage of development. Each group will be assisted by mentors to provide guidance in searching for opportunities, analyzing the viability of ventures and developing a business plan that includes company description, market analysis, marketing plan, and financial statements. The course culminates in the Knight-Tank Competition where the teams present their business model to “investors” in the community. If time permits, students may pursue the design phase and create a prototype.


Model United Nations

Preston Messer

What is Model UN? Model UN is a simulation of the United Nations. Students take the place of a delegate of a country or international organization. In the various UN councils, delegates solve real-world problems by cooperating and negotiating with other delegates. In the end, a coalition of delegates drafts a resolution to find a solution on their given topic.


Songwriting/Composition Through Technology

Mark Weakley

Using Noteflight, a composition app, students will discover basic song forms and songwriting techniques that blend melody with lyricism to create their own music. Additionally, students will be able to perform their compositions for their fellow classmates and potentially the student body at large.

© 2020 by Pope John Paul II High School Innov8.