Science: Connecting All Students to Their World and Place

  • Science

    The CPS Science Department is committed to connecting all students to their world and place by providing rich and diverse experiences centered around community building, exploration, and service.  Below is a sampling of activities we invite all students to take part in.


  • Trail BlazersTrail Blazers:  Trail Blazers is a community service group operated by the Columbia Public Schools Science Department.  Students of any age are encouraged to help improve their community by providing and tracking service hours in a number of ways.  Research shows that students that are involved in community service become more engaged and aware of their community throughout their lives.  Service hours are tracked and students can earn different award levels, including a U.S. Presidential Citation.


  • Place Based LearningPlace-Based Learning:  The CPS Science Department has become a model in the state for working towards place-based learning for all students.  Place-based learning takes our existing curriculum and teachers it through the lens of our community - our Place.  By learning our curriculum standards through community experiences, students before more connected to their place, which research has shown benefits students' academic, physical health, mental health, and engagement in school.


  • Experience for allExperiences for All:  The CPS Science Department offers all students opportunities to explore their place and beyond through the following field experiences:

    Band with Nature Day:  All 2nd grade students spend a day at the Columbia Nature Sanctuary while interacting with scientists and nature.  This event is hosted by the Columbia Audubon Society.

    Missouri River Days:  All 4th grade students spend a day on the Missouri River while learning and exploring the history and science of the river with scientists.  This event is hosted by the Missouri River Relief Organization.

    Great Smoky Mountain Adventure (www.comosmokytrip.com):  All 5th grade students, regardless of their financial circumstances, are invited to take part in this 4 day/night program in Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  Students experience place-based learning techniques that help them connect to nature and themselves through community-building, exploration, and critical thinking.  Scholarships are available.

    Grand Teton Adventure (www.cpsgrandteton.com):  All middle and high school students, regardless of their financial circumstances, are invited to take part in this 7 day/night program in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.  Students experience place-based learning techniques that help them connect to nature and themselves through community-building, exploration, and critical thinking.  Scholarships are available.

    CPS Japan STEM Connection (https://www.cpsk12.org/Page/17466):  High School students, regardless of their financial circumstances, are invited to take part in this 7 day/night program in our sister city of Hakusan, Japan.  Students will spend the week exploring the environment, culture, and science related to our sister city while interacting with Hakusan citizens and students to discuss solutions to complex problems that involve all of us.  Scholarships are available.


  • Nature SchoolNature School:   The Columbia Public Schools and the Missouri Department of Conservation have partnered with other community organizations to build and operate a Boone County Nature School that will be completed in 2022.  Once complete, all 5th grade students in Boone County will spend seven full school days learning at the Nature School.  Students will experience place-based learning by learning about the environment, culture, and economy of their place and how it is all connected.  Students of any grade level will have the opportunity to take day trips and enroll in special programs centered around place-based learning.