Division of English and Humanities

Division of English and Humanities offers 12 courses based on National Chinese Curriculum Standards (NCCS), Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Advanced Placement (AP), three of which are AP certified.

Humanities education provides an integral foundation in a complete education. The ability to think, express, and explore are built on language, knowledge, concepts, and skills through disciplines of language, literature, history, philosophy, and arts. The study of humanities teaches learners ways to interpret texts, assess sources, make value judgments, and form and analyze arguments. Written expression enables learners to share their ideas as part of the 「Great Conversation」 — the dialectic and dialogue of human growth and development through the engagement of human thinking. Language is the creator and conveyer of beauty, and, through writing, this aesthetic experience is endowed to future generations. Ultimately, the integration of the Humanities curriculum into classes at Moonshot Academy with exhaustive learning of these key skills and knowledge will allow learners to, in Maslow's words, 「self-actualize」or to become 「fulfilled individuals and active, compassionate citizens」 as the school motto of Moonshot Academy.

As an integral part of human development, we emphasize step-by-step language learning as a tool to explore the cultural inheritance of humanity, to collaborate as a global citizen, and to present ideas and art that can change the world. We recognize the value of Mandarin as our students' native language with its natural access to cultural treasures and English as a medium to bridge learners to the rich context of Western Tradition. As the global language of education, business, science, and technology, English facilitates learners' abilities to thrive in the modern world.

Literature allows learners to imagine a world of possibilities. Cultivating the faculty of imagination enables us to see things with the mind's eye that we can then work to build. The ability to empathize with others' feelings and see the world through their eyes—a competency inherent to great literature—is an essential part of being human and improving our society. Poetry, plays, and stories give us forms to understand the heart as well as the mind.

History allows us to understand our collective experience as human beings. Through historical inquiries, we learn that human societies move through cycles. But we also learn that agency is key in molding human activity. This course highlights the power of individual decisions and the ways that individual choices aggregate collectively into our shared human experience. Knowing how the past informs the present and allows us to evaluate future possibilities and pitfalls is prioritized than focusing solely on the memorization of facts and dates. History courses, including World History, US History, History of Mathematics, Asian Studies, and Human Geography, provide learners with deeply enriching content as well as opportunities to develop the appreciation of the history, an invaluable skill encompassing critical thinking, inquiry & research, analysis & synthesis, and argumentation.

Philosophy inspires learners in a thoughtful exploration of the human mind. We value the ability to develop the innate capacities to connect, reflect, and analyze are developed through thought exercises. The course is committed to fostering an ethical perception of the world through reflecting on our place in the universe. It is hoped that as we inform learners of important concepts such as justice, truth, and being, they will gain a greater understanding of the limitations as well as possibilities of human beings. As a Moonshot Featured Course, Western Philosophy is a required credit for all MSA learners.

Core Beliefs

At Moonshot Academy, we believe students are life-long learners who will excel with the freedom and support to pursue their own passions.


We promote learners' development in reading, writing, vocabulary, and grammar/mechanics with the adaptive learning program IXL as a part of our blended learning approach. This comprehensive online curriculum offers learners individualized instruction and practice according to their own level and pace. We use IXL's high-quality analytics to inform our teaching and offer targeted, personalized learning experiences aligned with Common Core standards and deeper learning of 21st-century competencies. At the same time, we provide systematic and individualized grammar classes through the employment of Grammar in Use (Cambridge) series throughout ESL to ELA4 to better support learners' mastery of necessary grammar and mechanics.

Through project-based learning, learners will apply and extend knowledge in a process of deeper learning. Rooted in the essential knowledge, skills, and dispositions, these projects are often hands-on, collaborative, and interdisciplinary platforms for learners to present and celebrate their learning. 

ENGL 1000: ESL Foundations

This course is designed to support the foundational language skills for novice English language learners. With a focus on the basics—vocabulary, grammar, and mechanics—learners will have the opportunity to receive instruction and additional practice in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. This course offers supplementary instruction in English as a second language for learners who need additional support beyond ELA1 course.

ENGL 1001: ELA1 (Introductory Level)

This class is designed for learners to build basic English language skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking). It also introduces learners to the fundamental concepts of literary studies. In this course, narrative writing skills and argumentative writing skills will be focused on scaffold learners telling their own personal stories as well as addressing their own opinions with strong arguments. Speeches, books, and films will be applied to hone learners' speaking and presenting skills. The aim of this course is to guide learners' development of expressing their own using basic English appropriately by reading and imitating different genres of texts.

ENGL 2001: ELA2 (Intermediate Level)

This intermediate-level course is designed to develop learners' English language skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) through engaging and complex units of study. This year's course is designed around the themes of past, present, and future. Learners will read a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, engage in discussions and debates, and learn to effectively communicate ideas in writing from personal, informal journaling to rigorous academic essays. Each unit integrates reading and writing with digital tools, multimedia, and fine & performing arts. Learners will have multiple opportunities to deliver presentations and performances. This course contains a blended learning component, IXL, which allows learners to work at their own level and pace through a comprehensive online curriculum. This course will culminate with a major PBL performance and a portfolio of student writings.

ENGL 3001: ELA3 (Advanced Level)

Chinese Identity is an advanced ELA course designed for learners working on their higher English language and literature knowledge and skills through the study of works of literature and advanced writing exercises. This course delves into literature representing the immigrant life of Chinese Americans, the culture and struggle of Chinese people, and Chinese identity. Based on this context, this course explores the literature of varied genres, including The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, How To American by Jimmy O Yang, My Country and My People by Lin Yutang, and Poetry written by various authors. By exploring these literature works, we hope students can think critically of their own Chinese identity and its stability. A close reading of texts and the development of critical thinking will be key skills in developing students' language and argumentation ability in this course. Meanwhile, the experiential learning part will add color to the deep conversation between literature and humanity.

ENGL 5005: ELA4

Our new ELA 4 Higher Level Literature class is designed for students who are looking for an opportunity to explore literature from around the world at an advanced level. Over the course of the year, we'll cast a large net: in terms of literary genres we'll look at novels and novellas, as well as units on drama, poetry, and a range of literary-nonfiction texts. Through a comparative and thematic approach, we'll look at literature from a diverse range of cultures including Turkey, Japan, Russia, Ireland, and England. Temporally, these works will range from the 17th century to contemporary works published as late as 2020.

ELA 4 will give students front-row seats for insights into how people think and experience the world. It will expand our imaginative and emotional vocabularies, and it will give us reference points for understanding the people around us. Academically, students taking this course will become more sensitive and articulate writers and more perceptive readers, and these skills will transfer into and support learning in other academic disciplines and help make for a smooth transition into university.

PHIL 1001: Practical Philosophy

The Battle of Ideas is an introductory course of western philosophy focusing on important topics of human existence, like freedom, justice, happiness and love, etc. The course will adopt a practical approach that brings philosophical knowledge and skills into everyday life, and connect with social/community issues and personal challenges. Learners will think independently and together with the group, explore different perspectives and find their own answers to these important questions for life. Learners will be introduced to thoughts from the greatest thinkers and make connections with their own experiences and knowledge. In addition, learners will discover more about their own thinking mechanism and examine their ideas during group inquiry. This course will focus on competencies including critical thinking skills, oral and writing communication skills, social and emotional skills, civic and self-awareness. This course will shed light on the great ancient greet wisdom of "know yourself" and "an unexamined life is not worth living."

ENGL 2002: Introduction to Creative Writing

Introduction to Creative Writing is an intermediate English course focusing on English creative composition and contemporary literature. Through the exploration of students' own life and the varied lives around them, we hope that they can build up a unique identity profile. Meanwhile, the exposure to different contemporary literature and writing genres will offer an opportunity to find a distinct way to express themselves. The competencies of this course involve oral interaction, creative writing, aesthetic appreciation, and self-awareness. The immersive English environment of this course will also strengthen students' language abilities through reading, listening, writing, and speaking. The final artifact of this course will be one or more collections of your own masterpieces and all the money earned by selling them may be your first barrel of gold in the writing field.

ENGL 5002: AP Advanced Creative Writing

Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction is an advanced English course focusing on English creative composition and contemporary fiction. Through exploring different genres of fiction, learners will be able to explore the uniqueness of each one of them to choose and create their own. The immersive English environment of this course will also sharpen learners' language abilities through reading and listening to writing and speaking. The final artifact of this course will be one or more collections of their own fiction masterpiece and will be edited and printed out as a whole class. If learners are interested in exploring various writing styles of fiction, making connections to their own world, and improving their English skills at the same time, then this is the course for them.

WHIS 5001: AP World History

In World History, students will investigate historical events, figures, developments, and processes from 1200 to the present. Students will develop and use the same skills, practices, and methods employed by historians: analyzing primary and secondary sources, developing arguments, making historical connections, and applying reasoning skills on comparison, causation, and continuity and change over time. The course provides six themes that students explore throughout the course in order to make connections among historical developments in different times and places: humans and the environment, cultural developments and interactions, governance, economic systems, social interactions and organization, and technology and innovation.

POLI4001: Comparative Politics

Francis Yoshihiro Fukuyama, a political scientist, has said that: "people who only understand one country don't understand any country". This saying conveys that in order to understand what is happening in the world nowadays, we have to gain the comparative thinking method to broaden and deepen our knowledge. Comparative politics is not only a method of study but also a field of study. We will together delve into the questions such as: why did Arab spring happen? Why is Afghanistan a "failed" country? Why did democratization fail to succeed in Nigeria but succeed in other countries? Those questions are important for comparativists and salient for us to understand world politics nowadays. Therefore, in this class, through exploring the various themes of comparative politics, you are going to not only understand the current world politics but also gain the comparative thinking method that is conducive to your problem analysis skills.

ENGL 5003: Academic Writing

Academic Writing is a year-long course in reading and writing designed to teach students how to write for academic purposes, critical analysis, and argumentation. It is designed to improve learners' critical reading, writing, and thinking skills, which they can apply to further college writing classes and other disciplinary courses. Small group work and discussion, peer editing, class discussions, lectures, and in-class writing exercises will constitute the majority of the class time here.

ENGL 5004: AP English Language and Composition

The AP English Language & Composition course cultivates the reading and writing skills that learners need for college success and for intellectually responsible civic engagement. The course guides learners in becoming curious, critical, and responsive readers of diverse texts and becoming flexible, reflective writers of texts addressed to diverse audiences for diverse purposes. The reading and writing learners do in the course will deepen and expand their understanding of how written language functions rhetorically: to communicate writers’ intentions and elicit readers' responses in particular situations.

The AP English Language & Composition course focuses on the development and revision of evidence-based analytic and argumentative writing, the rhetorical analysis of nonfiction texts, and the decisions writers make as they compose and revise. Learners evaluate, synthesize, and cite research to support their arguments. Additionally, they read and analyze rhetorical elements and their effects in nonfiction texts—including images as forms of text— from a range of disciplines and historical periods. Throughout the course, learners will follow the pattern of reading others' arguments and then writing their own. Learners will analyze what makes others' arguments convincing or confusing, engaging or dull, persuasive or powerless. They will then turn to the act of composition themselves, seeking to emulate effective argumentation they have encountered in their reading and analysis.