Fun Geography Project Ideas for Middle School Students

Geography may have more fertile ground for project ideas than any other school discipline. There are so many fun activities for students to participate in and at the same time learn geography.

Create an Atlas - This is a project idea that can be used over the course of the school year. Give each student a large piece of drawing paper, and then assign each student a name of a country. The students then create a map of their assigned country.

Encourage students to provide as much detail as possible on the map, such as that country's natural features (lakes, rivers, mountains), major cities, and famous landmarks. Include on the paper a fact box with the country's size and population, and other data if desired. Place the maps in a large binder to create an atlas. Do this project throughout the year until all countries are in the atlas. You should see improvement in the construction of maps as the year progresses.

Geography Bingo - A fun project idea is to play geography bingo. Have students create their own bingo cards. Students should label each column by region of the United States, for example Northeast, Midwest, South, Mountain, and West regions, or whatever fits with your curriculum. Students can then draw an outline of five states underneath their appropriate region. The teacher writes names of all the states and their region on slips of paper, or has a student do it, and then the teacher draws a state and announces for example, "South.... Tennessee," and so on until a student yells, "Bingo!"

Where do the products we use originate? A project idea on this subject invites students to collect labels from foods, clothing, toys, and other products they use to determine where these products come from. Have students record what state or country makes a product, such as shirts, then figure what percentage of shirts are made in the United States or overseas.

This exercise can lead to interesting questions: Is the United States dependent on another country for shirts? Why are shirts made in a certain state or another country? How do shirts find their way to the local stores?

Map Puzzles - Instead of buying map puzzles, have teams of students cut out sections of various state and regional maps. They can then distribute the sections (puzzle pieces) to other teams and the teams can compete with each other on who can solve what state or region each piece of the puzzle belongs to. Make sure the students include some kind of recognizable feature on each piece, like a city or river, so the state or region can be deduced.