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Current School Programs

Download a copy of our 2017-2018 Educator’s Inspiration Guide!

Bring natural and cultural history, as well as art and science, up close for your students. All programs meet Nebraska State Standards and are aligned with Hastings Public HPS Key Concepts and Essentials for 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! Click here to download the State Standards for School Programsclick here for theatre programs, or here for planetarium 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 visitor services department at 402.461.2399 or 800.508.4629.

Please limit two programs per visit.

All elementary school programs have been revamped within the last year.

Edwin Perkins: The Inventor – Grades K-1  

We will explore various exhibits, including Kool-Aid: Discover the Dream, to find out what inventor Edwin Perkins’ life was like growing up in Nebraska. Students will learn about wants versus needs and how they change over time, smell the original Kool-Aid flavors, and mix their very own Kool-Aid combination!

North American Mammals – Grades 1-2   

Join us for some furry fun on a tour of the Wildlife Diorama Hall. Students will use their observational skills as we investigate physical adaptations, predator and prey relationships, and characteristics of living things. We will play games, view animals in their natural habitat, and work with animal pelts, scat, skulls, and foot prints.

Sea Monsters of Nebraska – Grades 1-2
Did you know Nebraska was covered by an inland sea when dinosaurs walked the Earth? As we tour our Fossils exhibit, we’ll explore the Cretaceous creatures that swam in our seas, including the life-sized Tylosaurous! Students will
cast their own fossils and dig up clues about what Nebraska’s prehistoric environment was like.

Plains Indian Culture – Grades 1-3
Students will travel back to the 19th century as they discover what life was like for the Dakota and Cheyenne tribes. We will explore clothing, food, and shelter with a guided tour of the People on the Plains exhibit. Students will also learn Native American traditions and make a winter count slap bracelet to take home.

Kool-Aid: A Success Story – Grades 2-3
Nebraska’s famous product, Kool-Aid, comes alive in the exhibit, Kool-Aid: Discover the Dream. Explore what life was like during inventor Edwin Perkins’ youth in the early 1900s. Students will learn how brand recognition and different advertising techniques helped Edwin make Kool-Aid a household brand. We will end the day with a tasty treat and package some Kool-Aid to take home!

Exploring Rocks and Minerals – Grades 3-5
The Earth is full of mysteries waiting to be uncovered. Students will learn about some of the fascinating ways to study our complex planet. They will search for minerals in everyday objects, classify rocks, view glow-in-the-dark rocks, and participate in other hands-on activities throughout our large Rocks and Minerals exhibit. Students will also get to take home their very own quartz crystal at the end of the class!

Corps of Discovery – Grades 4-5
Take part in the Lewis and Clark expedition! Adventurers will collect unusual artifacts, learn about animals never before seen, and make friends with local Native American tribes­—just like Lewis and Clark did over 200 years ago!

Kool-Aid: Impacted by History – Grades 4-5
Experience how Kool-Aid was influenced by historical time periods and events such as the early 1900s, the Great Depression, and World War II. We will take you back to Kool-Aid’s humble beginnings and walk you through the Kool-Aid: Discover the Dream exhibit that highlights the historical events that shaped Kool-Aid into the product we all know and love. Students will play an inflation game and test their knowledge of Kool-Aid flavors.

The Pawnee – Grades 4-5
This program brings the historic Pawnee to life through a hands-on guided tour of People on the Plains. Students will explore the importance of the bison, the different homes the Pawnee built for shelter, and how they lived on the open plains. We will also grind corn, play a Pawnee hunting game, and make a shield to take home.