Humanities

Humanities at Mass Academy is taught by Ms. Small. Humanities is a combination of an English and history course in which students investigate the question; “What does it mean to be human?”. Typically in humanities, students look at texts and excerpts from books which allow them to gather more information about different groups of people and different functions of the brain. Many pieces of historical literature also prompt discussion regarding the exigence and context of the text. Additionally, students complete a weekly Humanities Journal reflection on the curriculum, life at MAMS, and other current events (local and national/global). Over the course of the year, students will learn how to effectively write essays, participate in Group projects, read different forms of literature and primary sources, and participate in class discussions.

One of my favorite projects in Humanities thus far is the Ancient Civilizations project. We were divided into groups of 4 and assigned a different civilization to research and prepare a presentation on. I worked with Mateo , Anush and Bella on the topic of the Shang Dynasty of Ancient China. We decided to present our information in the form of a museum “walkthrough” with a choose-your-path style story at the end to check comprehension. It was fun to brainstorm creative ways to display our information and learn about their way of life!

During our unit on Satire, we were tasked with a group assignment to create our own satirical piece on anything that we wanted. My group decided to create a Juvenalian satire around the stereotype that women are “bad drivers”. We decided that it would be most effective when presented in a video format. This assignment was a lot of fun to put together. When writing the script, it was interesting to see how easily the satirical choices could be comedic. It was also a great opportunity to work with my peers to do something fun and work on my videography skills.

The second larger assignment from our Satire unit was our Satirical Analysis Essays. For this essay, we were able to choose the structure and texts that we wanted to write about. For my essay, I chose to compare and contrast two satirical pieces we had read in class. “Babycakes” by Neil Gaiman was a short story written for the benefit of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to increase awareness of animal abuse and mistreatment. “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift is a satirical piece that criticizes the Irish Parliament for its corrupt policies. Despite the fact that these pieces had two unrelated messages, it was shocking to discover the multitude of similarities both authors had in their satirical choices. I really enjoyed this essay as it gave me the freedom to write about something I was genuinely interested in rather than two texts I felt no connection to whatsoever.