Students need the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of geography, writing and artistic skills through a method that is unique to their learning style. I have created a variety of 5th grade appropriate projects where students have to pick 3 options to demonstrate their knowledge of their particular colony. The first component is mapping- landforms, water ways, topography or population maps. The second component is for the students to pick a historical fiction writing element- diary, journal, essay, long paragraph pertaining to tools or events, etc. The final component was my students' favorite, the artistic piece. Students could make, paint, sculpt, draw or build a model of an appropriate moment, event, tool or lifestyle of their colony and write a description of how it fits with their colony.
My students excelled when they were given choices. Students thrive when they are given choice and when they aren't forced into "showing" how smart they are through a test. These projects were completed mostly in class (research included) and it took approximately 2-3 weeks. Students researched for approx. 5-7 days before beginning projects. I had students supply all their own materials except for paint and they got very creative. We had twig/rock bow and arrows (arrow tubes made from paper towel rolls), and lego constructed cabin/home models, Minecraft village models equipped with correct landforms, crops and farm animals and so much more.
This is a project I will repeat each year to follow, I truly loved what became of this.