This is a project that I developed for my combined 6th & 7th grade geography class. In the project, I have 3 sets of data that vary in complexity. I assign the different data sets based on grade level and ability. A is the easiest, B the mid-level, and C the toughest. The students are expected to group the data meaningfully and develop a thematic map to communicate the data.
The three sets of data that I used were found at: http://kff.org/statedata/
I have not included a blackline map of the United States because the one I use is from a bound resource book. This is a website where you can print one for free that has few markings and would be good to use for this project: http://www.colormegood.com/colormegoodPDFthumbnails/holidays/4thofjuly/blank-map-of-usa-coloring-page-1.pdf
I give my students 2 days in class (including the day I explain the project) and a weekend to complete the project. We do the project individually, but it could easily be a partner or small group project as well.
Included is an editable rubric. All parts of this project are easy to edit for your needs.