Student Day Workshops are hands-on workshops for K-12 school groups interested in enriching their classroom learning through the disciplines of architecture, engineering, urban planning, and design.

Through these interactive workshops led by Center for Architecture Design Educators, students explore the program topic through inquiry-based investigations of architectural examples, drawing, movement, and design activities. Students then apply what they have learned to create their own designs on the program theme. Workshops take place during the school year M-F at the Center for Architecture or as virtual sessions.

All programs include a Teacher Resource Packet with additional information, extension activities, and links to curriculum standards in Math, Science, ELA, Social Studies, and Visual Arts.

To begin the reservation process, please fill out the Student Day Request Form at least three weeks in advance.

Masks are required for all K-12 in-person programs, regardless of vaccination status. Read our full Health and Safety Protocol here.

Questions? Please see our Student Day FAQs or contact Breanna Katsman, Education Program Coordinator at 212-358-6127 or


Student Day is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

2022-2023 Format Options and Pricing

In-Person Programs at the Center for Architecture

2-hour workshop which includes all design materials.

Price: $450/class, $350 for NYC public schools, $250 for Title One schools.

Virtual Programs

Our virtual programs are split into two parts: a 1-hour introductory session followed by a 60-minute (Language of Architecture & Skyscrapers: Structure and Strength) or 90-minute (Building Bridges & Green Architecture) design workshop, normally scheduled on a separate day. Programs can be conducted on the Center for Architecture’s Zoom account or your school’s platform. Schools supply the recommended materials or can purchase kits from the Center for Architecture.

Price: $400/class for 2-part program; $300 for NYC public schools; $200 for Title One schools. Introductory session only: half price.

Student Day Program Topics

The Language of Architecture grades K-6 (available in-person or virtually)

K-12 Student Day, Language of Architecture, 3rd Grade. Photo: Center for Architecture.

Students learn how to “read” buildings for clues about their design and function as they observe and sketch architectural elements through an interactive slide show and neighborhood walk (weather permitting; virtual programs use Google Earth to explore the school neighborhood). Using these concepts, students will then design their own building model to take home.

Skyscrapers: Structure and Strength grades K–12 (available in-person or virtually)

K-12 Student Day, Skyscrapers, 5th Grade. Photo: Center for Architecture.

Students learn about the structural systems that support tall buildings as they are guided to analyze examples of skyscrapers from around the world. Students become familiar with key engineering concepts and structural components, then design and build their own model of a skyscraper’s structural frame using toothpicks, marshmallows, and spaghetti. 

Building Bridges grades 2-12 (available in-person or virtually)

K-12 Student Day, Building Bridges, 4th Grade. Photo: Center for Architecture.

Students investigate the design and structure of four different bridge types (beam, arch, truss, and suspension) to learn how each works to support the load of traffic and span long distances. Students create labeled drawings of each bridge type, identifying structural components and forces, and gaining an understanding of key engineering concepts. Students construct their own working model of a suspension bridge (Virtual programs: $5 per student materials fee for CFA bridge kits; additional shipping costs if outside NYC.)

Green Architecture grades 3-12 (available in-person or virtually)

K-12 Student Day, Green Architecture, 3rd Grade. Photo: Center for Architecture.

Students learn about how buildings impact our environment through their energy and resource use and become familiar with sustainable design techniques and principles that can help us create environmentally friendly buildings. Students use our Environmental Design Checklist to create a model of their own green structure. (Students are encouraged to provide their own recycled materials for model-building.)

Build a Geodesic Dome grades 5-12 (available in-person only)

Students standing inside a geodesic dome

Working as a class, students construct a 14-foot geodesic dome. This elegant structural form, made famous by engineer and inventor Buckminster Fuller, offers a unique opportunity to experience real-life applications of geometry and physics. Students then test out their structural ideas by creating individual scale models inspired by the dome’s geometry. At least four adult chaperones required.

Neighborhood Design grades 6-12 (available in-person only)

Student Day, Neighborhood Design. Photo: Center for Architecture.

Working in small teams, students collaborate to design a model of an ideal neighborhood based on a set of planning and zoning guidelines. Students are challenged to think from the perspective of a particular user group and consider the factors that affect the success and growth of both neighborhoods and cities.

Scale Model Building grades 6-12 (available in-person only)

K-12 Student Day, Scale Model Building, 7th Grade. Photo: Center for Architecture.

Students explore how scale is used in architecture to create measured drawings and architectural models, then use these tools to create their own architectural floor plans of an apartment at ½” = 1’ scale. Students the turn their 2-D floor plan into a 3-D scale model.