Many Ways to Resolve Conflict

Grade Levels: 3 - 8


  • Students will learn a range of possible conflict resolution techniques.
  • Students will learn some of the technical terms of conflict resolution.



  1. Explain that there are many ways people resolve conflicts, some of which have names.
  2. Read the Resolution Vocabulary handout with your students, discussing each of the terms.
  3. Ask students if they can think of examples of each kind of conflict resolution.
  4. Hand out the Identify the Resolution handout and read the following situations to the class.
  5. Have students identify what type of conflict resolution is being used.
    1. Roger and Kindra were arguing over who would get to use the box of markers. They realized that arguing was getting them nowhere, so they figured out several ways they could both use the markers. Then they chose the way they liked best. (NEGOTIATE)
    2. Jerome, Ted, and Alfredo are supposed to put up a bulletin board display together, but they can't agree on what the theme should be. They finally went to their teacher Mr. Nunez and asked him to choose the bulletin board theme. (ARBITRATE)
    3. Juanita was upset because her best friend Sara walked by her this morning without saying a word. She didn't speak to Sara all day. Finally Sara got Luanita to say what was wrong. "I didn't even see you," Sara cried. "I would never walk by without saying something to you." It was all a misunderstanding. (COMMUNICATE)
    4. Ricardo and Diana were playing on the same softball team, but they both wanted to pitch. They were shouting at each other. Finally Monty came up and helped them work out a solution to the problem. (MEDIATE)
    5. Marla was being teased and called names by some kids in the class. She hated being called names. Every morning the class had a class meeting to discuss things. Marla suggested that there be a class rule against name-calling and teasing. (LEGISLATE)
    6. Carmen has accused Reba of stealing things out of her locker. They have taken their problem to the student court. The court is made up of a high school girl, who is the judge, and a jury of eighth- and ninth-graders. They will present evidence to the court. The jury will decide if Reba is guilty. If she is, the judge will decide her punishment (LITIGATE)
  6. Conclude this activity by having a class discussion using the following questions:
    1. Have you used one of these conflict resolution approaches? If so, describe the situation.
    2. What are some other ways of resolving conflicts that are not on this handout? (compromise, problem solving, competing, using chance)
  7. To take the discussion even further, read the poem "Ations" on page 59 of Shel Silverstein's A Light in the Attic.

Excerpted from Elementary Perspectives: Teaching Concepts of Peace and Conflict by William J. Kreidler.

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