Hastings Museum offers a number of wonderful school programs – including those focused on Museum exhibits and topics and programs involving the theatre and planetarium.
Museum exhibit and related topics are included on this page, organized by grade – from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Current School Programs
These curriculum-related programs introduce students to specific Museum topics or exhibit areas. All include a guided tour of related Museum exhibits plus hands-on, object-based learning activities – and all are tied to Nebraska state education standards! (State Standards for School Programs [.pdf] to download state standards for all programs.)
The programs are free with paid Museum admission, although we do accept donations to help cover the cost of materials. Programs run approximately 45 minutes and can be adapted to meet your specific needs. Just ask!
For questions or to make a reservation, contact our education department at 402-461-2399 or 800-508-4629. Or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please limit two programs per visit.
Kool-Aid Laboratory – Grades K-1 REVAMPED
Explore the newly renovated exhibit Kool-Aid: Discover the Dream tolearn what life was like for Edwin Perkins, inventor of Kool-Aid. See homes, stores, and tools of yesteryear, while learning about inventions of the time. Students will create their own flavor of Kool-Aid in our color laboratory!
North American Mammals – Grades 1-2
Join us for some furry fun on a tour of our Wildlife Diorama Hall. Students employ their observational skills to identify a number of scientific concepts including classification, physical and behavioral adaptation, communication, and habitat. Hands-on activities include working with animal skins, skulls, scat, and habitat and adaptation identification.
Sea Monsters of Nebraska – Grades 1-2
What was the Earth like when giant reptiles swam in the seas; flew in the air, and walked the land? After a guided tour of our Fossils exhibit, students will dig for clues to determine what prehistoric Nebraska was like during the Age of the Dinosaurs.
Plains Indian Family – Grades 1-3
Students travel back to the 19th century on the Great Plains as they discover the commonalities of the Plains people. We will explore clothing, food, shelter, and gender roles with a guided tour of the People on the Plains exhibit. Students will learn Native American dancing and make a souvenir winter count slap bracelet.
Kool-Aid Kitchen – Grades 2-3 REVAMPED
Nebraska’s famous product, Kool-Aid, comes alive in our newly renovated exhibit Kool-Aid: Discover the Dream. Students will explore inventor Edwin Perkins’ life, including the many products created before and after Kool-Aid. They will follow the Kool-Aid from its beginning to the present, ending with a tasty treat from our Kool-Aid kitchen!
Fossil Detectives – Grades 3-4
Students will discover the exciting work of a paleontologist as we visit our Fossils exhibit and learn the secrets fossils can tell us about the Earth. They will test their new knowledge by identifying a fossil and determining what its environment was likeduring prehistoric times. Was their fossil once alive in Nebraska? We’ll find out!
Gee! What’s Geology? – Grades 3-5
Explore our large collection of sparkly specimens in the Rocks and Minerals exhibit as students learn how to identify and differentiate between minerals and the three different types of rocks. They will discover why rocks give off light in our Fluorescence Rocks and Minerals exhibit and in the classroom. Students will sort and classify rocks, pan for minerals, and make a memory rock to take home.
Building the State – Grades 4-6
Key people and events come alive as your class assembles the state piece by piece to discover how the past has helped build Nebraska into “the good life” state that it is today. Students will learn about the unicameral system, agriculture, transportation, state symbols, and notable Nebraskans. They will get to take their gigantic map back to the classroom as a souvenir.
Corps of Discovery – Grades 4-6
Take part in the Lewis and Clark expedition! Adventurers must overcome numerous obstacles to discover a route to the West Coast. Students will work together as teams to experience traveling by river, navigating trails to the shore of the Pacific, and collecting unusual artifacts and animals native to the area just like Lewis and Clark did over 200 years ago.
Kool-Aid Chemistry – Grades 4-6 REVAMPED
Enter the creative world of Edwin Perkins and Kool-Aid in our newly renovated exhibit Kool-Aid: Discover the Dream. Explore what inspired Edwin to create Kool-Aid and how it has changed with the times. Students will test their own experiments and make a sweet Kool-Aid treat.
The Pawnee – Grades 4-6
This program brings the historic Pawnee to life through a guided tour of People on the Plains. Students will discover the effects emigrating groups had on these early Plains people and how Native American and Euro-American interaction changed both peoples’ lifestyles. We will grind corn, play a Pawnee hunting skill game, and create a talking feather to take home.
Overland Trails – Grades 6-8
In this role-playing program, students may haul freight to New Mexico on the Santa Fe Trail, travel with Brigham Young in his search for Zion or become an entrepreneur during the California Gold Rush. They could also experience the fate of the Donner Party in the Sierra Nevada Mountains or follow missionary Narcissa Whitman as they trek the many Overland Trails through the Museum.
Mineral Madness – Grades 6-8
Students will get to know rocks and minerals on a deeper level with a tour of our Rocks and Minerals exhibit. Using magnification, we will take a closer look at facet formation in minerals and explore what it means. They will discover how some minerals protect us through fluorescence. Before leaving the museum, students will determine one mineral from another using time-tested methods.