At Columbia Independent School, we aspire to offer educational experiences that challenge students intellectually and provide opportunities to develop problem-solving and collaboration skills. Our Intersession program helps students in grades 9-12 broaden their horizons and think beyond the classroom walls. 

Held the week prior to Spring Break, the week-long Intersession courses blend problem-based and experiential learning. Students take a break from their usual classes and select the course that interests them most. The program partners with local organizations and experts throughout the week to enrich the experience. 

Past Intersession courses have included CIS CSI (Crime Scene Investigation), Food Around the World, News/Documentary Making 101, Fashion Design, Game Theory/Escape Room, Astronomy 101, Sustainability, Wilderness Survival, Fractally Speaking, and Interior Design.

The 2019 Intersession courses are here!

Straw, Sticks, and Bricks: Solving Housing Insecurity

Nearly a quarter of the world’s population lacks adequate housing. On any given night in Missouri, over 6,000 people are homeless. Students in Straw, Sticks, and Bricks will be asked to consider three driving questions:

  • What constitutes a “home”?

  • How can we solve issues of housing insecurity locally/globally?

  • What building techniques are necessary to know/understand in order to build a home?

For the culminating project, students will work in teams to design and build a housing structure on a limited budget. Students will plan the project, purchase supplies, and build the structure. They will be required to spend the night in the structure on Thursday night, and it should provide adequate shelter from the elements!

Sporting Life

The concept of sport is interwoven into all cultures. We will take a closer look at alternative sports, sports medicine, and sports marketing. Some of the questions we hope to answer are:

  • What is involved in the planning and marketing of sporting events?

  • What are some of the different fields involved with sports medicine?

  • What is it like to be a college athlete?

  • What are non traditional or alternative sports and how do I participate in them?

For the culminating project, students will work together to plan and promote a 5k run in support of Be The Change Volunteers.

Show Me Missouri Art

Art is a fundamental component to human communication and expression and here in Missouri, there is a beautiful and fascinating variety of it on display. Come with us while we examine examples of imaginations from all over the world from antiquity to the modern day at MU's Museum of Art and Archaeology. Experience the shifting styles of American architecture and design as you walk (and climb!) through the City Museum in St. Louis. Learn about works currently being produced today with a visit to a glass workshop and a trip to the Kansas City Art Institute, where students have the opportunity to learn new ways to develop their artistic abilities. We will visit all these places and more as we explore the wealth of art that our state has to offer.


Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency and green-living.  It involves subsistence agriculture, preservation of food, craftwork, improving the use of home energy, and the making of non-toxic household products and textiles.  Students who participate in this intersession will have an opportunity to learn or demonstrate skills relevant to this lifestyle; such as, soap and candle making, procuring produce, baking from scratch, sowing seeds, wood chopping, and rag-rug weaving.  We will meet homestead enthusiasts at Columbia’s Center for Urban Agriculture, a bee-keeping facility, and Baker’s Creek Heirloom Seed Company in Mansfield, Missouri. We will spend the week learning about environmental responsibility, production, and consumption.  The cost for the session will cover travel expenses and supplies for craftwork and baking.