21 The Outsiders Activities for Middle Schoolers


The Outsiders, a novel by S. E. Hinton, is an engaging and thought-provoking story that is commonly taught in middle schools. Here is a list of 21 activities that will help students better understand and appreciate this timeless classic. These activities are designed to develop critical thinking, interpretation, and creativity skills in middle schoolers who are exploring the themes and characters of The Outsiders.

1. Character Analysis Collage: Have students create a visual collage representing one of the main characters in the novel.

2. Greasers vs. Socs Debate: Split the class into two groups representing the Greasers and the Socs, and have them participate in a structured debate about their differences.

3. Alternate Ending Assignment: Ask students to rewrite The Outsiders’ ending from a different character’s perspective.

4. Diary Writing Activity: Students write diary entries as if they were one of the characters from The Outsiders.

5. Plot Diagram Puzzle: Have students create a plot diagram using puzzle pieces to demonstrate their understanding of the story’s structure.

6. Create a Movie Poster: Students design a movie poster for The Outsiders, complete with catchy taglines, images, and creative billing.

7. Compare and Contrast Essay: Assign students to write an essay comparing and contrasting the lives of Ponyboy and Johnny.

8. Setting Exploration: Have students examine Tulsa’s geography to pinpoint key locations from the novel and understand their significance.

9. Socioeconomic Status Discussion: Initiate a guided class discussion on the impact of socioeconomic status on the characters’ decisions and development.

10. Symbolism Hunt: Conduct an active scavenger hunt for symbols present throughout The Outsiders.

11. Soundtrack Creation: Ask students to create an original soundtrack for The Outsiders, exploring songs reflecting themes or moments from the story.

12. Theme Analysis: Prompt students to analyze and discuss the novel’s themes in small groups.

13. Newspaper Article Assignment: Have students write a newspaper report on key events from The Outsiders.

14. Role-Play Activity: Students act out pivotal scenes from the novel, exploring character motivations and emotions.

15. Character Interviews: Assign students to write interview questions for other characters based on their understanding of the story.

16. Creative Writing Prompt: Ask students to develop a spinoff story focusing on one aspect of the novel’s themes or characters.

17. Book Jacket Project: Students design a new book jacket for The Outsiders, incorporating important thematic elements.

18. Poetry Analysis: Explore poems referenced in the novel and discuss their significance to the central themes.

19. Costume Design Challenge: Have students create costume designs for characters based on their descriptions in the novel.

20. Venn Diagram Comparison: Use a Venn diagram to compare The Outsiders with Hinton’s other work, Rumble Fish, highlighting similarities and differences.

21. Social Media Project: Students create social media profiles for the characters in The Outsiders, incorporating dialogue, images, and personality traits from the story.


These 21 activities offer a dynamic approach to teaching The Outsiders by engaging middle schoolers in critical thinking and discussion about the book’s explorations of identity, loyalty, and socioeconomic status. Incorporating these activities into your lesson plans will deepen your students’ understanding of this influential novel and help them connect it to contemporary issues they face daily.

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