Susan Lowman
Algorithms and Programming, Impacts of Computing, STEM/STEAM, Fiction, Communication Skills, Developmental Support
Material Type:
Interactive, Lesson Plan, Reading
Upper Primary, Middle School
Computer Design, Cs Unplugged, Disabilities, Fiction
Creative Commons Attribution
Media Formats:
Downloadable docs, Interactive

Education Standards

Out of My Mind Controller Design Challenge

Out of My Mind Controller Design Challenge


Out of My Mind is a chapter book that I read aloud to my upper elementary students. It is about a girl named Melody that has an amazing memory. She is extremely bright, but is unable to communicate verbally. She was born with cerebral palsy which affected her speech and her ability to move and function without the use of a wheelchair and communication board. She is very limited in what she can express and do, and for that reason, people treat her as if she is not smart or capable of learning.  


Design Challenge

Includes handout/printable for Game Controller Design Challenge Instructions


  • Read the story, Out of My Mind, by Sharon Draper
    • I do a read aloud and discuss daily 
    • could do as a small group 
  • Discuss the challenges the main character faces on a daily basis
  • Discuss the misconceptions people have about the main character, Melody, because she is unable to communicate in ways that most people do 
  • While reading, talk about the things the students are able to do on a daily basis that Melody finds difficult
  • What do the students feel would be some of their greatest challenges/obstacles


  • most students use computers in some way 
  • talk about games they may play and the controllers they use
  • discuss how not everyone is able to use the controller as well as others (older people may not be as quick)

Design and Collaborate:

  • Think and plan- How would you create a game controller that Melody could use?