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Hacienda La Puente Unified Students Explore the Past, Make Connections During Mobile Museum Experience

 Hacienda La Puente Unified Students Explore the Past, Make Connections During Mobile Museum Experience
Andrea Torres

Sparks Elementary School kindergarten through second-grade students stepped into the past and experienced the glacial age when the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and Supervisor Hilda Solis joined forces to bring the La Brea Tar Pits Mobile Museum’s Ice Age Discoveries program to Hacienda La Puente Unified from Oct. 25-27.

The new program was celebrated with a special event during its final day at Sparks Elementary School on Oct. 27, where the NHMLAC President Lori Bettison-Varga, Solis and distinguished guests gathered to see students experience the museum for the first time.

Working alongside museum experts, students journeyed back to a 50,000-year-old Los Angeles, where they explored fossils and worked together as fellow scientists to make discoveries about Ice Age Los Angeles. The 45-minute program is designed to teach early learners about the past through play, embrace the unknown and inspire wonder, discovery and responsibility for our natural and cultural world.

“I think that the mobile museum is an exciting experience for my peers and it’s exciting that I get to be a part of this amazing event,” sixth-grade student Natalie Munoz said. “I’m excited to see what our kindergarten through second graders will learn. I think it’s important for younger students to learn about the past and better understand our history to build a brighter future. Who knows, maybe one of these students will discover their love for science and become an archaeologist one day.” 

Munoz, Sparks Elementary School Principal Gilbert Barraza, Bettison-Varge and Solis opened the event with inspiring remarks on the importance of integrating science and history into the everyday lives of young learners and the impact hands-on and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning has on their path to success.

The event concluded with a lively performance led by a second-grade class, where students acted out and sang a song about paleontology and discovery. The energetic bunch was then escorted into the museum alongside distinguished guests, journeying back in time for an exciting excursion. 

“On behalf of our Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Jiménez, the Board of Education and our entire District community, I want to extend my gratitude to the Natural History Museum, Supervisor Hilda Solis, Principal Barraza and all the helping hands that made this opportunity and special event possible for our Eagles community,” Executive Director of TK-8 Angela Lin said. “It takes a village to ensure our students have access to enriching educational experiences. We are proud to be a part of such a strong and supportive community that values forward-thinking and deep learning.”  

Dedicated to educating students on the past and innovating a brighter future, the National History Museum’s mobile museum events have been a long-standing staple throughout Los Angeles Unified Schools. For the first time, the portable experience touched ground in the San Gabriel Valley to provide Sparks Elementary School students with an unforgettable scientific adventure. The program plans to expand the mobile resource to additional school sites and Districts in the near future.

The Mobile Museum experience is one of many opportunities offered within the District this year aimed at inspiring students through hands-on learning. Through seasonal and afterschool programs, career technical education, STEM courses and Visual and Performing Arts, HLPUSD students engage in various activities at all grade levels that teach them life-long skills and inspire them to explore their interests and discover their passions.

 “At Hacienda La Puente Unified, we value innovative learning practices and understand that our students will build connections between classroom curriculum and hands-on experiences like the mobile museum to explore new heights and discover their future passions,” Jiménez said. “Thank you to everyone who helped make this experience possible for our District.”



HLPUSD_MOBILEMUSEUM1: The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles team, Supervisor Hilda Solis and HLPUSD community gather to celebrate the La Brea Tar Pits Mobile Museum’s Ice Age Discoveries Program on Oct. 27.

HLPUSD_MOBILEMUSEUM2: Second-grade students at Sparks Elementary School perform a lively song about scientific discoveries during a Mobile Museum launch party on Oct. 27.

HLPUSD_MOBILEMUSEUM3: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles educator welcomes second-grade students from Sparks Elementary School and distinguished guests to the inaugural Ice Age Discoveries Program on Oct. 27.