Division of English and Humanities

Division of English and Humanities offers 11 courses based on National Chinese Curriculum Standards (NCCS), Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Advanced Placement (AP), one 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 1001: ELA1 (Introductory Level)

Why do people come up with stories to explain things we don’t understand? How do we decide what’s fair? What do the lives of the minority look like? What is your relationship with the world, our society and yourself?... Questions like this will be discussed in this course, and you are going to develop deeper insights on topics related to the meaning of life after you pop into the classroom and interact with your smart peers.


This class is designed for learners to build basic English language skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking) as well as introduce learners to the fundamental concepts of literary studies. In this course, narrative writing skills and argumentative writing skills will be focused on scaffolding learners to tell 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 students' 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. Students 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. Students 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 5101: ELA4 (College Level)

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, Canada, Germany, 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.

ENGL 5201: AP English Language and Composition

The AP English Language and 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. Students 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.

ENGL 5003: Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction

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 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.

MSAF 4001: Western Philosophy

This course will inform learners of the culture and core ideas of the Western Tradition by teaching primary texts (Gilgamesh, Plato’s Republic, Descartes’ Meditations) in the context of culture and history. Philosophy as a discipline broadens the mind by seeing ourselves and the world from a higher perspective. Note: As an MSA Honored Course, this course is required for graduation.

Beijing Stories

This course introduces and makes use of digital tools (audio and video) to research and record an immersive engagement with the city of Beijing. This semester the course focuses on stories of migrants in Beijing, especially stories of the lower class. The preservation and adaptation of migrants raise many issues that are central to contemporary Beijing: social mobility, inequality and urbanization. Through field trips and the eyes of fiction writers, learners will carry out evidence-based discussions and have a chance to create their interaction and observation interview documentary (around 5 mins).

Harry Potter Project

Welcome to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! (Wizards welcome; Muggles tolerated.)


This special elective seminar course is designed to develop students' English Language Arts skills, social justice awareness, and SEL (social emotional learning) through complex units based on the first 4 novels and films of the Harry Potter series. In each of these 4 major units, we will do close readings of the novels, watch and respond to clips from the films, engage in group discussions and activities, and complete individual and group tasks analyzing important themes from the story and relating those themes to our own personal lives as well as to society at large. Examples of themes we will discuss include: racism, classism, and discrimination; family, community, and belonging; the value of education; and never giving up on yourself and your dreams. Within each unit, we will examine literary elements such as symbolism, word choice, and point of view in addition to general reading comprehension and vocabulary acquisition skills. Each unit will culminate with a test, essay, and creative project. 

English TV Show Project

This course will guide learners to take a look at various English TV shows categorized as News Programs, Variety Shows, and TV series. Learners will have a big picture of the TV industry and be exposed to a few detailed case studies. We'll attach great importance to cultural differences, public communication, and critical thinking by carrying out rounds of evidence-based discussions and learners may have the chance to create their own shows as a team.

Performance and Public Speaking/ Public Speaking and Drama

This course is an introduction to the performing arts and oral communication, placing a focus on the ‘real world’ applications of these skills. Students will develop the practical skills of verbal and non-verbal communication whilst developing their ability to present their ideas and opinions with confidence. The course is project based, encouraging students to take charge of their learning and work with others to achieve success. Students’ will also develop an understanding of purpose, audience and context, as well as research, time management and organization.

What concepts the students will learn:

  • Persuasive language
  • Impacts and importance of audience, purpose and context
  • The creative process
  • Application of feedback
  • Script analysis and crafting
  • The art of performance


How students will be assessed on that learning

  • Short/extended writing tasks
  • Projects
  • TED Talks