CATS Innovation is an interdisciplinary program, which encourages students at CATS Academy Boston to follow their academic passions. Electives are chosen in focused areas of study within the disciplines of - Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.
The diverse choice of electives offered by the CATS Innovation Program will provide you with experience in entrepreneurship, social justice, technology, and environmental responsibility. You will explore these topics through interdisciplinary projects which will give you insights into areas of collegiate study while also learning the skills and developing the mindset necessary to become a self-starter.
You will build your own CATS Innovation (CI) route of study by choosing electives that inspire you. The courses are designed to help you push the boundaries of accepted theory, and engage your interest in progressive fields of study.
Alongside the choice of innovative electives, you will have the chance to become involved in co-curricular clubs, which are goal-oriented and practice-based. You will meet with regional experts, visit businesses relevant to your course and attend lectures, workshops and conferences. Past CI co-curricular activities have included the Model UN, Youth Cities Boot Camp and DECA Challenges in leadership, creativity and entrepreneurship.
CATS Innovation electives
In this year-long course, you will develop the skills necessary for all of the technical aspects of theater. This includes set design and construction, lighting design and operation, prop-making and design, sound, and stage management. You will apply your skills by being instrumental in the design and construction of the fall and spring productions. This is a project-based course, which will give you a greater understanding of the range of talents required to produce a theatrical production. You will see tangible and concrete results through the application of your work, use problem-solving skills and collaborate with the class and the performers on capstone shows for the CATS community.
Business of Music
You will explore the backbone of the music industry during this one-semester course, learning about copyright law, band deals, and music promotion. You look at icons within the music industry and how artists rise to fame. The class utilizes social media to promote art and music to the student community and manages a Facebook page — CATS Café. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 or higher.
Music Technology & Production
You will learn to compose and produce music using the same programs as used within the music industry. From EDM, to jazz, to rock and roll, you will pick apart many different genres and learn how to recreate some of the greatest hits of all time. The class also teaches composition skills. Prior piano experience is a plus, as much of this class is based on playing the keyboard. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 or higher. This is a year-long course.
Digital Imaging/Internet Self-Marketing
The purpose of this course is to introduce you to digital art and self-promotion. You utilize computer programs from the Adobe Creative Suite such as Photoshop and Illustrator and class projects will include − photo manipulation, logo design, and webcomic creation. You learn valuable skills in drawing, composition, and design, as well as the importance these have on marketing and product advertising. Your work will be self-promoted through social media, web forums, and other internet outlets. This is a one-semester course offered over both semesters.
You will create visual narratives accompanied by a written storyline. You will use traditional materials such as ink and pencil to develop images and have access to the Adobe Creative Suite for producing digital images for your narratives. You develop creative writing, digital design, composition, fine art drawing and painting skills while exploring the art of storytelling. Student works will be posted and viewed on social media. This is a one-semester course offered over both semesters.
Advanced Fashion: Technology & Marketing
How do clothing companies design and market their products successfully? Can we create clothing that satisfies the needs of our own community? In order to address these two questions, you will learn how to use fashion design software, identify market needs, and develop and advertise your products to the school community. Products include a CATS Academy jacket, 3-D printed jewelry, and wearable electronics. The course includes a trip to the MIT Media Lab to see cutting-edge uses for technology in the sartorial world. Prerequisites: Previous fashion class or instructor approval. This is a one-semester course.
In this one-semester course, you will learn basic film production skills, such as looking at how to develop a storyline, recording an event, or promoting an idea using the media of film. You will edit your films using the Adobe Creative Suite/ Final Cut Pro system. Film students will work with the Acting for Film class on a collaborative project, producing a student acted, directed, shot and edited movie. The movie will be shared with the school community via social media. This will also provide you with material for your college portfolios.
Photography: Digital & Darkroom
On this one-semester course, you will learn basic skills in composition, design and light manipulation, which will be used to enhance your images. You will also learn the principles of digital photography by using the Adobe Creative Suite. Additionally, you will learn how to develop photos shot on film in a dark room. The course will culminate with a group student photography exhibit.
During this one-semester course, you will learn introductory CAD skills relevant to the drafting, designing and engineering process. You will also learn the basic concepts and processes followed by architectural and industrial design professionals. You will begin by designing a piece of furniture and go on to design virtual objects that will be printed on a 3D printer. You will be introduced to set design for theater and by the end of the class you will have all of the skills necessary to digitally design your 'dream house'.
Economics in Literature
Economics in Literature uses basic economic concepts as a lens through which to view literature, and, to examine the impact of economics on our world. Through the study of contemporary texts, you will learn how economic concepts such as scarcity, competition, utility maximization, opportunity cost, creative destruction, and resource allocation impact individuals and society. You will exercise your creativity, critical thinking, and analytical skills while gaining a broader understanding of the implications of global economic forces on human beings. This is a one-semester course. Prerequisites: ESL Level 4 or higher; B- or higher in previous English class.
Studies in Global Contemporary Literature
Studies in Global Contemporary Literature is modeled on a college-level approach to literature. It is an intensive course for students ready to broaden and deepen their reading. The chosen texts cover a range of topics and open windows into modern cultures all over the world. The course invites you to practice exploring, articulating, and supporting your insights into contemporary work, all while fostering the inherent joy in reading. This is a one-semester course. Prerequisites: ESL Level 4 or higher B- in previous English class.
Game theory utilizes both popular and more contrived games to provide a fun, engaging introduction to strategic decision-making. You will begin to understand the different roles that players can take and the behavior that constitutes the optimal strategy for playing these roles. During the course, you will gain an appreciation of how concepts can be applied, including − business, economics, political science, computer science, logic, biology, and philosophy. This is a one-semester course. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 or higher; Algebra I; instructor approval.
Contemporary Issues College Prep
This course gives you an introduction, to issues that are dominating the news throughout the year. The focus is on current events and related debates in the United States and around the world. By studying social, political, and economic issues, you will gain insight into their place in history and the relevance of today’s events to historical themes. In addition to raising your awareness of world history, the course develops your analytical, reading, writing, and speaking skills. The course is offered over one or two semesters. Prerequisite: one year of U.S. History Survey College Prep or Honors.
Introduction to Law College Prep
This course is an introduction to trial law and litigation in the United States. You will learn to make legal arguments for cases and argue them by public speaking. You also study examples of important case law. Introduction to Law is a chance to use evidence and make arguments based on precedent, and you are introduced to the court system in Massachusetts, the federal courts and different types of legal practice. This course will strengthen your analytical, writing, and public speaking skills. This is a one-semester course offered over both semesters. Prerequisite: one year of U.S. History Survey College Prep or Honors.
Introduction to Philosophy College Prep
This course looks at how philosophy’s place in history is a way for humans to understand themselves and the nature of reality. It looks at both Eastern and Western philosophical traditions. You will have the opportunity on the course to examine your own philosophy and goals. This is a course that will develop your powers of analysis as well as your reading, writing, and speaking skills. This is a one-semester course offered over two semesters. Prerequisite: one year of U.S. History Survey College Prep or Honors.
Macroeconomics College Prep
This one-semester Social Science elective (fall only) is paired with one semester of Microeconomics College Prep to make a one-year college prep course in Economics. The courses are part of the CATS Innovation Program. In Macroeconomics College Prep you will learn how economic decisions are made at a national and international level. You will examine economic systems around the world and economic policy-making in the United States. You will learn about markets, industries, trade, banking, finance, economic indicators, economic policy, and the Federal Reserve. This is a one-semester course. Prerequisite: ESL Level 3 or higher; grades 11 and 12.
This course equips you with basic computer-aided drafting skills using AutoCAD software, allowing you to model both 2D and 3D mechanical parts. Major projects in the course include the redesign of an object of your choice in order to make it more ergonomic and cost-effective. You will use 3D printers in the CATS Innovation Lab to make your designs come to life. Upon completion of the course, you will have learned how to analyze real-world objects from an engineering perspective and develop workable blueprints for manufacturers to produce simple parts.This is a one-semester course. Prerequisite: ESL Level 2 or higher.
Introduction to Front End Web Development
Open Source Engineering
This course introduces you to the world of open source engineering, developing your love of technology and design, as well as improving your problem-solving skills. The lessons and activities use Arduino, an internationally popular open-source software and hardware ecosystem. The course starts with case studies of engineering solutions to real-world problems and then moves on to more complex projects such as monitoring and controlling devices using software, sensors, and actuators. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 completed or currently enrolled in Algebra 2. One of the following: completed Robotics, Computer Science, or currently enrolled in Physics, or permission of the instructor.
This class introduces you to the exciting world of robots. You learn to identify what a robot is and what it is not. Through hands-on design and construction work, you will explore how robots are constructed, how they operate, and what their limitations are. The class benefits from lectures by experts in the field of robotics and exposes you to the commercial uses of robots as well as future trends. There are field trips to local robotics companies as well as to robotics events and competitions. There are individual as well as team-based projects for students to test their ideas and compete with each other as well as with outside teams. This is a one-semester course. Prerequisites: ESL Level 2 or higher; instructor approval.
This course utilizes lecture, discussion, and project-based work. You will investigate and learn about using biological systems to produce goods, technologies and innovations that help medicine and society deal with living organisms. Specific topics include DNA techniques, utilization of proteins and enzymes, genetic manipulation, and the impact on the industry that these innovations provide. This is a one-semester course. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 or higher; instructor approval.
Environmental Science College Prep
The goal of the Environmental Science course is to provide you with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world. You focus and work towards identifying and analyzing environmental problems. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the course approaches themes including − energy conversions; earth as one interconnected system; human alterations of natural systems; environmental problems framed in a cultural and social context; and the development of practices aimed at achieving sustainable systems. This is a one-semester course. Prerequisites: Returning students: Recommendation of previous instructor. New students: placement test.
This elective CATS Innovation course introduces you to the idea of Big Data – a phrase used to collectively refer to large datasets made possible only recently due to the advent of digital tools such as smartphones, Facebook, Twitter, and Google. These digital tools allow us to quantitatively analyze human behavior on an unprecedented scale. The course includes an introductory survey of the results of big data analysis along the lines of key findings and informative visualizations, as well as introductory exercises for doing the analysis. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 or higher; B or higher in ESL Level 2 and math from previous year; Algebra II; science placement test.
This one-semester course helps you develop your presentation skills. You will have opportunities to practice presenting to peers and school audiences of all sizes. You will analyze reports and other sources of information and learn ways to portray relevant information, both visually and verbally. In addition, the course will teach you cross-cultural communication techniques, which are critical skills to have in our global community and the workplace. This course helps you to develop confidence, poise, and find your own style of communication when giving a presentation. Prerequisite – ESL Level 3 or higher.
This one-semester course is about decision-making, which prepares you to understand the major aspects of money and how it flows end-to-end; from its sources, as to how it cycles through the economy. Key concepts covered include – the meaning of money, gold versus other standards, bitcoin, exchange rates, stock markets, technical analysis, loans, credit, paper, electronic transactions, and banking. A large component of the course focuses on the stock market and utilizes the CATS Academy Finance Lab with state-of-the-art trading and simulation tools. Mathematical concepts such as interest rates, inflation, economic indicators, as well as basic monetary numeracy and accounting will be introduced. Prerequisite: ESL Level 3 or higher.