Lesson Plan

The Sands of Time:  Cape Lookout’s Black and Tan Sands

Black and Tan Sands Seen After a Storm

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Grade Level:
Sixth Grade
Climate Change, Earth Science, Environment, Geography, Geology, Hydrology, Landscapes, Regional Studies
60 minutes for 1 day
Group Size:
Up to 24 (4-8 breakout groups)
National/State Standards:


Students will be engaged with a hands-on examination of sand samples and will be comparing and contrasting the size, weight, color, and texture of the sand grains.  We will discuss the origins of these sands and the geological processes that occurred to bring them to Cape Lookout.  Students will attempt to create a miniature beach using sand and water.


The learner will be able to: 

  • Understand the differences between the black and tan-colored sands at Cape Lookout National Seashore and why one is commonly called "heavy" mineral sand and the other "light" mineral sand 
  • Describe the different minerals composing the black sands and the tan sands 
  • Understand the origins of these sands and their transport to Cape Lookout National Seashore 
  • Understand the movement of sands along our coast