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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! Download the State Standards for School Programs, find our theatre programs here, and our planetarium programs here.

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, characteristics of living things, and habitats. We will compare our feet to a polar bear’s foot, find our bat family using smell, and work with animal pelts, skulls, scat, and footprints.

Sea Monsters of Nebraska – Grades 1-2
Did you know Nebraska was covered by an inland sea when dinosaurs walked the Earth? 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 to discover what life was like for the Dakota, Cheyenne, and Oto tribes in the People on the Plains exhibit. We will explore their food, clothing, and shelter, and daily chores as students play a hunting game, grind corn, and get up close to Native American objects. We will end by making a winter count slap bracelet.

Kool-Aid: A Success Story – Grades 2-3
Nebraska’s famous product, Kool-Aid, comes alive in the exhibit, Kool-Aid: Discover the Dream. We will 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 by packaging 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 fields that 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 through our large Rocks and Minerals exhibit.

Corps of Discovery – Grades 4-5
What were the goals on the Lewis and Clark Expedition and how successful was their journey? Find out as we take part in our own Corps of Discovery around the Museum! Adventurers will observe and document new animals, collect unusual artifacts, and discover how hard it was to translate different languages.

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 in our People on the Plains exhibit. Students will investigate the usefulness of the bison through hands-on discovery and get up close to parts of this important animal. They will practice their hand-eye coordination with a traditional hunting game and compare an earth lodge and tipi scene. We will dig into Pawnee framing practices and the Three Sisters crops.