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

Competition Robotics

Competition Robotics is an innov8 designed for our students in advanced robotics to continue working on their robot with the goal of competing in a competition at the beginning of next year. The prerequisite for this class is advanced robotics.


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?

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)!


Competition Bridge Building

Rebecca Jansing-Kaestner

The goal of the class is to study bridge construction, design and testing in order to submit the most efficient bridge for competition. All students will be designing, building, and testing their own bridges. The bridges will be tested in a competition hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers


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.


NovEx Healthcare Technology: Learn to Think Like a Clinician

Pat Kyriakidis and Tiffany Wagoner

This class is by application only through the internship portal. 

Students will learn to think, reason, make clinical judgments, and act like a real clinician. They will enter virtual simulations based on real patient situations and they will be challenged to clinically, ethically, and morally care for patients. In NovEx Sepsis, students learn to care for patients with sepsis. In NovEx Sepsis, Students are expected to fully engage and participate in clinical problem-solving, work in small groups, and take team leadership to think and act like a good clinician.


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.


Tell Me Your Story...  A Narrative History of JPII

Preston Messer

Narrative history is the firsthand testimony of people's experiences of history. Some people worry that narrative history is factually inaccurate history. But we don't go to narrative history for just the facts; we go to narrative history to understand the sense that people make, the stories they tell, about their experiences of history. We go to narrative history to understand the human cost and the human experience of history. What is narrative history good for and what does it have to offer that standard histories do not? Oral history allows for the messy but inevitable human contradictions that exist around, between, and in spite of the facts. In this class, students will conduct interviews with community stakeholders about a historical theme that students have identified as the throughline for the class' collective project. In the end, students will create a podcast series that showcases the lived experiences of our own community.


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.

RMV prof headshot1.jpg

A Good (K)nights Sleep

Dr. Valentino

What is happening in our brains and bodies when we sleep? How do we track and investigate sleep patterns? In this course, we will study the science of sleep and factors that affect sleep patterns. We will debate public health and safety issues related to sleep. Students will learn about some common sleep problems that affect teens, including sleepwalking, insufficient sleep, insomnia, and narcolepsy. At the end of the course, students will put together peer-directed content to unveil at Sleep Awareness Week 2021.


Exploring Sustainability

David Krebs

How can we best use the resources of the one planet that we now all occupy to provide a safe and fair quality of life for all 7.2 billion of us? Can we also protect and sustain all of the other earth non-human bio species that share the environment with us during this same critical time period? Working together in this class we will explore these questions in as much depth as we can offer. We will also evaluate and test as many future sustainability strategies as we can imagine in detail. We will use some of the most up-to-date Sustainability modeling ‘tools’ now available to do this as well as work with the massive worldwide biological capacity and demand databases from the Global Footprint Network. Part of our effort will be to understand our own personal contribution to this important, contemporary issue. Through individual and small group projects, we will also look to identify and analyze personal, institutional and government potential solutions for this dilemma. No prior familiarity with this topic is required to join this Exploration as this will truly be a “Let’s learn this together!” effort.


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.

© 2020 by Pope John Paul II High School Innov8.