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Current School Programs

Download a copy of our 2015-2016 Educator 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  

Explore the exhibit, Kool-Aid: Discover the Dream, to learn what life was like for Edwin Perkins, the inventor of Kool-Aid. See homes, stores, and the items that inspired Edwin to make this famous soft drink. Students will test their senses as they try to guess the original Kool-Aid flavors and identify the mystery Kool-Aid mix!

North American Mammals – Grades 1-2   

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

Sea Monsters of Nebraska – Grades 1-2
Did you know Nebraska was covered with an inland sea when dinosaurs walked the land? As we tour our Fossils exhibit, we’ll explore the Cretaceous creatures that swam in our seas, including the life-sized Tylosaurus! Students will make a fossil cast to take home. We will end the class by digging up clues to Nebraska’s prehistoric environment.

Plains Indian Culture – Grades 1-3
Students will travel back to the 19th century as they discover what life was like for the​ Dakota, Arapahoe, and Cheyenne tribes. We will explore clothing, food, shelter, and traditions with a guided tour of the People on the Plains exhibit. Investigate how these tribes have modernized while holding onto their traditions. Students will also learn Native American dancing 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. We will explore; inventor Edwin Perkins’ life, including the many products created before and after Kool-Aid. Follow Kool-Aid’s success from its beginning to the present. Students will create their own Kool-Aid packet 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 throughout our large Rocks and Minerals exhibit.

Corps of Discovery – Grades 4-5
Take part in the Lewis and Clark expedition! Adventurers must overcome numerous obstacles to discover a route to the West Coast-just like Lewis and Clark did over 200 years ago. Students will work together as teams to navigate the expedition, collect unusual artifacts and see new animals native to the area along the way.

Kool-Aid Chemistry – Grades 4-5
Enter the world of Edwin Perkins in the exhibit, Kool-Aid: Discover the Dream. Explore what inspired Edwin to create Kool-Aid and how it has changed with the times. Students will create and test their own experiments with acids and bases to learn how this famous soft drink works.

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 discover the effects emigrating groups had on these early Plains people and learn Plains Indian sign language. We will also grind corn, play a Pawnee hunting skill game, and create a talking feather to take home.


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