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2018 Missouri River All Stars After-School Program

Every student dreams of being on an All-Star team.  In this after-school program, 125 Columbia Public School 4th graders and 10 teachers will have the opportunity to learn about the Missouri River ecosystem and the impact that humans have on the river. 

About the Program

In the 2017-2018 school year, Columbia Public Schools is collaborating with the University of Missouri and Missouri River Relief to offer 4th graders and teachers the opportunity to learn about the Missouri River ecosystem and the impact that humans have on the river. This will be done through an after-school program and teacher professional development called “Missouri River All-Stars” between the months of March to May of 2018.

Selected Schools 

Columbia Public Elementary Schools and teachers were selected in early spring of 2018 and include: 

  • Fairview Elementary
  • Paxton Elementary 
  • Mill Creek Elementary
  • Blue Ridge Elementary 

Program Curriculum 

In the month of April, Missouri River All-Stars will provide 25 students in each of the selected schools with four, after-school programs and one on the river experience on Sunday, April 29 to support their understanding of how various groups (i.e. scientists and farmers) perceive and experience environmental issues. These lessons follow a Missouri River theme that includes:

  • Lesson 1: Discovering the Missouri River
  • Lesson 2: Structure and Behaviors of the Pallid Sturgeon 
  • Lesson 3: Forces that Shape the Pallid Sturgeon Decline 
  • Lesson 4: Recovery Plan for the Pallid Sturgeon: On the River Experience
  • Lesson 5: Debate for the Fate of the Pallid Sturgeon 

Teacher Professional Development 

During the program, two teachers at each of the selected elementary schools will be supported to draw on their Missouri River All-Stars experience to develop NGSS aligned environmental science and engineering based lessons. They will then implement these lessons in their own classrooms. These lessons will be compiled in a curriculum pack that will be made available to other teachers. 

To support teachers through this process, program staff and teachers will work together to:

  • Model how to use Missouri River All-Stars to develop lessons.
  • Cogenerate and implement a lesson with their class
  • And autonomously develop and implement a lesson with their class. 

On the River Experience

Date: April 29, 2018
Time: 10:00am-2:30
Location: Katfish Katy’s
Missouri River All-Stars will learn through laughter, challenge, and making a difference on the Missouri River. All-Stars will spend half of their time developing teamwork skills through a variety of fun challenges and half of their time working together in service to the Missouri River. This service involves digging tires out of the muddy, picking up dozens of plastic bottles, and find unique river trash.  Through these activities, All-Stars will get to know one another, the Missouri River, and themselves much better.

ReCap of Missouri River All Stars 


  • Click here for photos from Missouri River All-Stars.
  • Click here for a blog post from Missouri River All-Stars.


  • Click here for photos from Missouri River All-Stars. 
  • Click here for a blog post from Missouri River All-Stars.  

Missouri River All-Stars Staff

Kristen Schulte, Education Coordinator 

The Missouri River All-Stars is managed by Kristen. She is responsible for the planning, designing, and implementation of the Missouri River All-Stars. She had over nine years of experience in environmental education and a Master of Science in Natural Science Education from Teton Science Schools Residential Graduate Program. In addition, she has been certified for over seven years as a Wilderness First Responder. In her role at Missouri River Relief, she works to advance our mission of connecting people to the Missouri River with an emphasis on education. 


Benjamin Herman, Assistance Professor at the University of Missouri College of Education 

The Missouri River All-Stars unique research component is overseen by Ben. He is responsible for providing a research focus to the planning, designing, and implementation of the Missouri River All-Stars. He holds a Ph.D. in Science Education with a minor in Statistics from Iowa State University. He has an extensive background in science and science teaching with a B.S. in Animal Ecology, an M.S. in Wildlife Resources, an M.A.T. in Science Education and experience as a certified science teacher in Iowa and Florida. His research addresses how sociocultural factors and epistemological beliefs about science and technology impact socioscientific decision-making, particularly regarding environmental issues, and how science education can better prepare people to critically engage in those issues. 

Darcy Higgins, Program Instructor  

The Missouri River All-Stars is instructed by Darcy Higgins and she is responsible for delivering the classroom lessons.  She is also an environmental educator and current lead educator at the Wild Folk Unschool, an enrichment program for homeschoolers. She previously taught watershed education in Ohio coal country, supporting public school teachers in integrating experiential education into their curriculum. She holds a BA from Ohio University and has completed graduate coursework in inquiry-based learning at Miami University.

In the future, Missouri River Relief hopes that this program can be spread to other schools along the Missouri River. 

For any questions, e-mail or call 573.443.0292.



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