Grades K – 6
Older Students

Elementary Programs: Bring natural and cultural history, and science, up close for your students. Elementary school programs are 45 minutes. With advanced notice, these can be adapted to meet your needs. Please limit two programs per visit. If you are 15 minutes late or more, your first program could be cancelled. All programs meet Nebraska State Standards and are aligned with Hastings Public School’s Key Concepts and Essentials. Call to schedule your program today, (402) 461-2399.


Animal Survival

In this class, we will visit several habitats and investigate how animals change their environment to meet their needs. Students will play a habitat game, build food chains, and find real examples of the five basic needs in the museum’s dioramas.


Inventing Kool-Aid

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


Growing Up Pawnee

From playing games to doing chores, Pawnee children grow up much like you do! Together we will perfect our hunting technique, handle real bison objects, grind corn, and practice our drilling skills. We will end the class learning about traditional pawnee games and re-create one to take home.


Out Of This World

Time to blast off into outer space! Join us as we learn about the Earth’s rotation and orbit around the sun in a hands-on experiment. We will go into the J.M. McDonald Planetarium to discover the moon phases, and fast forward in time to see the constellations move in the night sky.


Ecosystem Explorers

Science and nature collide in this class! We will identify parts of a plant and find out how they disperse their seeds, investigate pollination and play a game that mimics how bees spread pollen, and explore different Nebraska ecosystems. We will tie it all together by building an ideal ecosystem with LEGOs.


Kool-Aid Success

Nebraska’s famous product, Kool-Aid, comes alive in the exhibit, Kool-Aid: Discover the Dream. We will learn how Kool-Aid beat out the competition, play a game to learn about brand recognition, and by packaging some Kool-Aid to take home!


Hastings History

Join us as we travel back in time to learn about the early years in Hastings. Students will build a railroad track as they find out how trains shaped Adams County (and lead to a very bitter county seat debate), discover who Samuel Alexander was and what it was like to be an early homesteader, explore why a huge downtown fire changed how buildings were made, and so much more. We will end the class with fun Hastings trivia.


Sea Monsters

Did you know Nebraska was covered by an inland sea when dinosaurs roamed the Earth? As we tour our Fossils exhibit, we’ll explore the Cretaceous creatures that swam those seas, practice fossil investigation skills, and check out a model of a life-sized Tylosaurus! Students will cast their own fossils and dig up clues about what Nebraska’s prehistoric environment was like.


Kool-Aid: Surviving the Times

Journey back with us to the humble beginnings of Kool-Aid as we explore Kool-Aid: Discover the Dream. We will discover how this tasty treat went worldwide, survived a name change, the Great Depression, and a world war. Students will shop in our general store, play a rationing game, test their knowledge of Kool-Aid flavors, and end with a fun Kool-Aid experiment!


Rocks and Minerals

Minerals are in everything we see and touch. But what makes a mineral a mineral? How do they form rocks? Students will discover the answers to these questions and more in this rockin’ program. They will search for minerals in our newly renovated Rocks and Minerals exhibit, classify rocks, view glow-in-the-dark specimens, and experience the rock cycle through a hands on experiment. Students will also get to take home their own quartz crystal.


Pawnee in Nebraska

Before settlers came to Nebraska, the Pawnee tribe lived in the open prairie here. Join us as we investigate parts of bison to figure out their use, practice our hunting skills, and learn Pawnee symbols while making winter count snap bracelets. We will end the class with the forced Pawnee removal from Nebraska and how the Pawnee keep their traditions alive today.

Program Fees

Reservations are required for all school programs. Please contact the Museum at (402) 461-2399.

Note: Films do require an admission fee, but there are discounts for schools and groups. Just contact the Museum for details.

Schools within Hastings city limits

Free admission to the Museum, school programs, and the planetarium. Films and occasional special programs are an exception and may include a fee – just check with Museum staff.

Schools outside Hastings city limits

$3.00 admission covers the Museum, programs, and the planetarium. Films and occasional special programs are an exception and may include an additional fee – just check with Museum staff.