World Languages Academy

at Texas A&M University

Our Program

Curriculum Overview

With the theme A STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) Trip to East Asia, our program features a grand virtual trip to East Asia where participants learn the target languages by engaging in a virtual scavenger hunt exploring the history and culture of East Asia, from its vibrant art to its pioneering robotics research. Participants are expected to reach a proficiency level of Novice-Mid in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

A Visit to the National Museums

The Art units introduce students to the rich art history of China and Korea through creative and hands-on projects. Taking a trip to the Children’s sections of the National Museums of Art and Music in China and Korea, students not only learn about the classical Chinese and Korean visual and performing art forms, but also create their own art and participate in performances.


As students explore the National Museums, they are tasked with the mission of creating a robot to retrieve some stolen treasures. Together with their travel buddies, they give oral instructions on the number, color, shape, and size of the Lego pieces needed to put together the robot. Once the robot is built, students learn to program the robot and navigate it to the treasures. For example, they match the instructions in the target language (e.g., move forward by x steps, stop, turn) with blocks of commands in code. The vocabulary and sentence structures needed to complete the project are fully integrated into our curriculum. The collaborative nature of the project, combined with young children’s curiosity and keen interest in robots, allows learners to use the target language in an authentic context for a meaningful purpose. Through these projects, our participants also learn fun facts about recent and current technological developments in China and South Korea. According to the International Federation of Robotics, China has become the largest buyer and user of robots. South Korea tops the world in robotics research and recently won a US federal robotics competition.

Visual and Performing Art

As students retrieve the treasures with their travel buddies and robot, they learn the vocabulary associated with each artwork and cultural artifact and discuss their likes and dislikes. The carefully chosen representative artwork and cultural artifacts are not only appealing to young children, but also introduce the targeted vocabulary, such as body parts (e.g., Chinese and Korean face masks), animals (e.g., famous sculptures and paintings), and hobbies (e.g., images of children reading, painting, and flying kites from the famous painting Along the River During the Qingming Festival; music pieces by Erhu, a traditional instrument, that characterize animals and actions, such as birds singing, snakes dancing, and horses running) in culture- and content-rich contexts.

Students compare arts across cultures. For example, there are also Western pieces of music that characterize animals and their actions (e.g., The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns).

At the end of the journey, the students meet with the families of their travel buddies and introduce themselves to them with the vocabulary and language chunks that they have learned through the journey, which include their likes and dislikes (e.g., colors, hobbies, pets). They also describe their favorite artwork and/or cultural artifact with vocabulary and language chunks associated with size, color, shape, animals, body parts, and hobbies/actions. These dynamic, context-embedded, communicative activities provide a unique opportunity for students to establish meaning and set a purpose for authentic language use.

Personalized Curriculum

A personalized curriculum is highly valued in our program. Through a pre-program parent survey, we collect information about our students’ likes, including hobbies, and pictures of them doing their hobbies. The information allows us to target personally relevant vocabulary and create individualized final projects. These project-based and student-centered activities integrate STEAM and world language education and promote authentic use of the target language.