Overview of Classroom Sessions

One of the best parts about participating in the Sandcastle Classic is the opportunity to work closely with students. Over a series of school visits, your team will lead students through design and building activities that bring this year’s theme to life!

Use the Sample Lesson Plan for step by step instructions on what to cover with your students, and how to lead these sessions. We recommend teams cover the following classroom session curriculum:

Classroom Session #1: Drawing/Individual Exercise 
-What is Sandcastle?
-What to expect in the weeks to come
-Breakdown of team makeup (students, architects, engineers, contractors, etc.) and how this collaborative process will mimic how AEC professionals work together to build real buildings
-This year’s theme is: Halloween Haunts
-What comes to mind when you think of your chosen year’s theme?
Individual drawing exercise
-Draw what interests you most from the brainstorming exercise
Distribute event information handouts, permission forms with t-shirt size options
Collect drawings for review
Materials: scratch paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils, printed image references as inspiration for students

Classroom Session #2: Modeling/Small Group Exercise
Prior to conducting Workshop #2, team reviews student ideas/drawings to narrow down a focus revolving around the theme – team can still carry a couple design options/creative inspirations in parallel

Recap of Workshop #1 with students and present design themes/ideas still in play
Introduce the idea of scale and create a scene to design

Small group (4 students per group) modeling exercise at 1/4” = 1’ scale in Play Doh
Have students present designs to the class

Materials : Play-Doh, kinetic sand, Floam, etc.     
Document models for review

Classroom Session #3: Mock-up/Large Group Exercise 
Prior to conducting Workshop #2, team reviews student ideas/models and constructs their own scaled representation of what the team plans to build at the Main Event

Recap of Workshop #2 with students and present final design reveal (1/2” = 1’ scale model in Play Doh or modelling clay)

Day Of logistics overview

Large group 1:1 scale playground chalk drawing exercise (mock-up of what’s to come!)

Measure out the site on the school yard, 20’ x 20’ and divide the site into 4 quadrants – 5’ x 5’ each

Assign a team volunteer or teacher to site manage one quadrant, divide students into 4 groups

Each group is responsible for drawing 1/4 of the final group drawing

Collect permission forms

Distribute t-shirts  

Materials: sidewalk chalk – enough for 1 piece of chalk per student, site map (plan view of scaled model with quadrant overlay) for students to reference during the exercise

While Leap encourages you to work with students that we serve through our programs, your team is not limited to working with Leap schools. Should you have difficulty in identifying a school partner, we are happy to help match you with one. Contact us for more information. Teams should partner with ONE CLASS at their partner school. 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students are at ages best suited for participating in Sandcastle. Below is a general timeframe for working with your partner school:


Identify which person(s) on your team will be responsible for communicating plans and logistics with your school partner. When you do make contact with your partner school, determine which teacher will be your team’s contact at the school and schedule a first meeting or phone call for as early in the school year as possible. Make sure to collect and exchange all contact information—cell phone number, email, etc. Determine best times to reach each other moving forward and best mode of communication.


Have your team representative connect with your partner teacher to discuss goals. If the school isn’t a Leap partner school and they don’t generally participate in a Leap residency, upon request, Leap can help the school learn about us and our programs, and the Leap Sandcastle Classic if the teacher is not familiar with it.

Teachers should understand that teams are raising funds to support Leap’s art education programs, and that these funds might not necessarily be used for their individual school. 

September and October

Team members responsible for working with the partner school should conduct 2 – 3 visits with the school during September and October in advance of the Classic. For tips on how to structure and conduct these school visits, review the sample lesson plan.

The Big Day! October 28, 2023

Work with classroom teacher to COLLECT waivers and permission slips prior to beach day. Keep these organized and on-hand during the event.