Maps are not just for geographers: for historians, too, they can be social, cultural and economic statements.
Ask students to create a presentation on maps to be part of a museum exhibition on the achievements of the ancient world. By contrast, they might look at the maps of the social reformer Charles Booth and create a presentation on how maps revealed what Victorian and Edwardian Britain had reason to be ashamed of. Booth's maps can be found at booth.lse.ac.uk KS3 students looking at the British empire might like to examine how the empire was defined in maps. There are good examples of such maps in the National Archives Learning Curve exhibition on the British Empire and the British Library Lie of the Land exhibition.
Students at GCSE and A-level have plenty of map resources to access online.
They could be asked to select a map or series of maps and tell the story which those maps represent, without notes - challenging but rewarding.
There is a good source of maps for 20th-century history at tinyurl.comcycmm
A series of maps on the westward expansion of the United States is available at tinyurl.com7h67x