The Outsiders – Game Play

By Beatriz Alvarez, October 30, 2009

Grade Level

  • Middle School


  • City of Neighborhoods

Subject Area

  • Language Arts

Lesson Time

315 minutes for classroom activities


After reading the novel The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton, students will show comprehension of the plot and themes by creating a game based on the characters/events/themes of the book.  They will also write instructions for game play, and a brief commercial that could be used to advertise their game.

National Standards


Standard 1. Level III. Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process

1. Prewriting: Uses a variety of prewriting strategies (e.g., makes outlines, uses published pieces as writing models, constructs critical standards, brainstorms, builds background knowledge)

2. Drafting and Revising: Uses a variety of strategies to draft and revise written work (e.g., analyzes and clarifies meaning, makes structural and syntactical changes, uses an organizational scheme, uses sensory words and figurative language, rethinks and rewrites for different audiences and purposes, checks for a consistent point of view and for transitions between paragraphs, uses direct feedback to revise compositions)

3. Editing and Publishing: Uses a variety of strategies to edit and publish written work (e.g., eliminates slang; edits for grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling at a developmentally appropriate level; proofreads using reference materials, word processor, and other resources; edits for clarity, word choice, and language usage; uses a word processor or other technology to publish written work)


Standard 6. Level III. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of literary texts

3. Understands complex elements of plot development (e.g., cause-and-effect relationships; use of subplots, parallel episodes, and climax; development of conflict and resolution)

9. Understands inferred and recurring themes in literary works (e.g., bravery, loyalty, friendship, good v. evil; historical, cultural, and social themes)

 Listening and Speaking

Standard 8. Level III. Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes

6. Makes oral presentations to the class (e.g., uses notes and outlines; uses organizational pattern that includes preview, introduction, body, transitions, conclusion; uses a clear point of view; uses evidence and arguments to support opinions; uses visual media)

Visual Arts

Standard 3, Level III : Knows a range of subject matter, symbols, and potential ideas in the visual arts


Students will be able to:
  • identify universal themes that arise in the novel.
  • identify main characters and their role in the novel.
  • connect with the characters in the story by putting themselves into the game play.
  • write detailed instructions for a specific purpose in mind.
  • understand the basic elements of advertising and how to address an audience.
  • self assess using the given rubric, and provide feedback to other students in the class as well


computers variety of games for students to uses as models or for research


  • computers
  • variety of games including board games, trivia games, card games, etc.
  • foam board
  • construction paper
  • markers
  • scissors
  • glue
  • felt
  • buttons
  • any other materials that might be used in constructing a game


  • advertising: the action of calling something to the attention of the public especially by paid announcements
  • testimonial: implicit or explicit approval from a public figure
  • bandwagon appeal: an appeal that recognizes the common human preference for belonging


Day 1: Introduction of the design challenge requirements, brainstorming and online research

1. The teacher will bring in a variety of games for students to use as research. They will read through directions and be allowed to play a few of the games.

2. Students will be placed in groups of four based on data used throughout the year to assess their reading and writing skills.  Together they will brainstorm ideas for their game.

3. Allow students time to do research either using the directions for the games provided by the teacher or going online to for directions to hundreds of popular game titles.

Day 2: Design Day – Students will put together/create their games

1. Students will be asked to design a game that includes references to characters from The Outsiders and game challenges that involve the conflicts, resolutions, and themes of the novel.

2. Students will also be required to write clear and concise directions for players to follow, and a one-to-two minute radio commercial that will be used to advertise their new game to the class.

(Some of the above two steps can be assigned as homework.)

Day 3: Game Time – Students will play each game and provide feedback to the creators

1. Students may need part of this day to finish fabricating their games.  After completion, students will be allowed to rotate throughout the classroom and play the different games.

2. Allow time for students to provide feedback for the creators of the games.


Students will be assessed using a teacher created rubric. (See sample attached)

Enrichment Extension Activities

Game reviews could be written about each of the games that were played.

The commercial activity could be extended to allow for an actual ad campaign that includes print, as well as filming of a commercial or recording a radio ad.

Focus could be placed on revising the instructions written by weaker groups.

Instructions could be written for surviving as a ‘Greaser.’

Instructions/Rules to follow for a “fair rumble” could also be written.

Teacher Reflection

The time alloted for this lesson might need to be adjusted depending on the level of the class. Extra time may need to be dedicated to the teaching of the Bias Methods and advertising techniques.

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