This project is perfect to use during a geography class/unit for (advanced) upper elementary or middle school students!
For high school students, you can add additional challenge by asking students to explain the connections between the different types of maps they have created, as well as how the history of their country has affected (and been affected by) its geography.
The project also incorporates informational text writing (in the context of geography), but does so in a way that would be comfortable for a non-ELA secondary social studies teacher. I have personally used this project with students from 4th grade up through 8th grade and have had a lot of success with it, both from my perspective as the teacher, and from the perspective of the students, many of whom have expressed to me how much they enjoyed the project.
For this project, students are asked to make up their own country. They come up with a name for it and are given a series of questions to answer about their country to help formulate their ideas about the country's geography and history. After this, students begin work on the final products of this project: a series of maps and a history textbook chapter for their county.
The project is designed to make students think about the ways that physical geography, human geography, and history interact and influence each other. The maps and the textbook chapter they create should reflect their understanding of these relationships.
This would also be an ideal project for a gifted and talented class or other type of advanced program.
*This file contains a student handout which lists the questions used to formulate students' ideas for their country, and a 1-page teaching guide that explains the project in more detail.