I struggled for an end of the year assessment, while keeping with a PBL theme, and I didn't want to just give a cumulative final test (boring). With the help of some educators from the twitter PLN, I developed a final project that, I feel, was a pretty good assessment of what they've learned all year. The project was a "design your own country" from the bottom up. Each student was given a starting latitude and longitude, and could expand their boundaries as they saw fit. They assumed their position on the globe as if all other human life had been "beamed elsewhere," but things like flora and fauna, standing infrastructure (dams, power grids, major highways, etc), agricultural products and natural resources (had to use what could grow there, or be mined), were all left behind. They also found libraries of histories and cultural aspects of things such as religion, that they could adopt, modify, or use as a premise for their own beliefs. They had to establish trade relationships, make war and peace, write histories, develop national sports, etc, using the model of other projects we've done all year. In the end, they were faced with some critical questions using the 5 Themes of Geography and how each Theme may relate to their specific situation. It was part creativity, part theoretical application, part research, and part map skills.
I only offer this because to me, it was inspirational, and now, knowing how it worked the first time, I can change and modify the "bugs" for next year. I truly appreciate Kay Conners, Rachel Labossiere, Josh Ehn, and Nia Hoover for their contributions.
I'd love to see the critical questions you use. I've thought about doing this, but want to have enough time. How much time does this take for you?