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Topics in Cultural Geography (Russ, Simpson, Dodson, and Lawrence 8th Grade): Lawrence: Assignment and Topics

Tropical Rainforest

The Assignment

Each student will choose a topic from the list.  You will then complete a written report meeting the following criteria:

LENGTH AND FORMAT:  Your report should be between 450 and 700 words in length, which is around two pages typed, double-spaced.  Typing is preferred, but not required.

SOURCES: You must have at least two sources for your report (maximum one encyclopedia, minimum one non-Internet).  While the exact form in which you cite your sources is not important, it is essential that you do cite your sources.  DO NOT PLAGIARIZE!!!

CONTENT: You need to develop a thesis statement (like a topic sentence in a paragraph) and include it in the introduction to your paper. You should then organize your paper into three or four body paragraphs, each consisting of a main argument in support of your thesis. Go beyond a simple report on your topic and offer an analysis of how this issue/person/event affects people and nations.  Try to explore the causes and effects, the “why” as well as the “what.”  Make sure that you organize your content and that you follow the rules of grammar and usage we have discussed! OUTLINE/PLANNING SHEET must be turned in with your written report!


In addition to the written reports, each student will also make an oral presentation to the class.  The oral report should meet the following criteria (and do not worry - I am not expecting perfect speeches on the first oral report of the year!):

LENGTH - no less than TWO minutes and no longer than THREE minutes.  You will need to practice at home to make sure that what you intend to say fits into the allotted time frame!

CONTENT - Much like the written report, provide an overview/summary. Again, organize your material instead of simply making a list and do not forget to explain why your topic is important.  Remember that you are teaching this information to the rest of the class.

PRESENTATION - You do not need to memorize your report, but you should not read the entire thing.  You may use up to two note cards to assist with your oral presentation.  You should also produce a visual aid – it may be as simple as a picture, helpful as a power-point (no you may not read your slides, you must explain them), or as dynamic as a silent video.  You will be presenting live!  Be confident, project your voice, and teach us, because you will be the expert on your topic.


Due Date: As you will note on your syllabus, the written and oral reports are due on: 

Grading Rubric

WRITTEN REPORT                                      /18

___ Length and Format – around 600 words typed or neatly written /3

___ Sources - correct number of sources correctly cited /3

___ Planning Sheet – completion; thesis and body go together /3



4-5 ~ clear thesis statement supported with specific and relevant evidence; well-organized

3-4 ~  identifiable thesis statement supported with some evidence; acceptable organization

1-2 ~  unclear thesis statement with list of facts instead of supporting evidence; unorganized

0-1 ~  inadequately addresses topic with no clear organization or analysis; poorly written


4 ~ few spelling, grammar, or formatting errors

3 ~ several spelling, grammar, or formatting errors

2 ~ many spelling, grammar, or formatting errors; major sentence errors

1 ~ excessive spelling, grammar, or formatting errors; major sentence errors

0 ~ unacceptable mechanics throughout, too brief to evaluate


ORAL REPORT                                            /10

___ Length - between two and three minutes /3

___ Presentation - familiarity with material, eye contact, speaking /3

___ Content - adequate and appropriate information, organization, significance /4




           -origins and development

          -subsistence farming

           -technological innovations


            -Coriolis Effect

            -El Nino

            -ocean currents

Climate Change:

            -global warming


            -ocean degradation

Culture Hearth:

            -ancient China

            -ancient Greece

            -Central America – Olmec/Maya


Demographics and Culture:


            -language families

            -population growth


            -fossil fuels

            -nuclear energy

            -solar energy

Government and Economics:

            -democratic government

            -authoritarian government


            -market economy       




            -tropical rain forests