Geography Assessment Project - Design an Island

I decided not to do it this year due to time constraints with my curriculum, but for the past few years I've had my students do a culminating geography project to assess the skills they learned during the unit.

The project revolved around islands designed by students in groups. I tried various group sizes, but groups of four seemed to be most effective for me.

The islands were designed around a theme of the students' choice. The themes were quite creative - everything from Candyland to Napoleon Dynamite Island, The Island of Elders, and Guitar Island.

The requirements for the island designs were intended to assess all the geography skills we covered in the unit, including the Five Themes of Geography. The students had to have at least eight different landforms (including a human-made one), four different regions, a coordinate grid, cities (including a capital), a source of fresh water, a method of transportation, and a map key with color codes for regions and a scale. The students also had to pick a real life ocean location for their island and supply the latitude and longitude.

Groups also had to write a "Five Themes Profile". The profile described how human activity changed the island, the purpose and effects of their human-made landform, the effects of natural resource harvesting on the island, any trade (import/export) the island engaged in, and how the island's regions are defined and why.

Finally, the students had to design a flag and a symbol to represent their island's theme and culture. They also had to prepare and deliver a presentation to the class about their island.

I usually gave the students a full week (about four hours) to work on their island maps, flags, and five themes profile and another day or two for presentations.

The project could be simplified or made more detailed. For example, the students might design a government to rule over their island and write news stories about events that happened there. I've also thought it would be cool for the students to do their designs on the computer, but resources and time have never afforded me the opportunity to fully explore the idea.

At any rate, this project has proven to be a fun and effective method of assessing students' geography skills in a non-traditional way following (or preceding) a traditional test.

No comments:

Post a Comment