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

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 approximately 600 words in length, which is around two pages typed, double-spaced.  Typing is required.

SOURCES: You must have at least two sources for your report (maximum one encyclopedia, minimum one non-Internet).  Cite your sources using proper MLA format. Use of Noodletools will help!  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:


LENGTH - no less than TWO minutes and no longer than THREE minutes.  This means that 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.


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

The Topics


  • origins and development
  • subsistence farming
  • technological innovations


  •   Coriolis Effect
  •   El Nino
  •   ocean currents


Climate Change:

  •  global warming
  •  biodiversity
  •  ocean degradation

Culture Hearth:

  •   Ancient China
  •   Ancient Greece
  •  Central America Olmec/Maya
  •  Mesopotamia

Demographics and Culture:

  •  ethnicity
  •  language families
  •  population growth
  •  urbanization


  •  fossil fuels
  •  nuclear energy
  •  solar energy

Government and Economics:

  •  democratic government
  •  authoritarian government
  •  globalization
  •  market economy


  • desert 
  • savanna
  • tropical rainforests
  • tundra

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

___ Grammar/Spelling/Overall Writing; Organization /4

___ Content - adequate and appropriate information, significance /5


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