What’s the best way to stop a conflict?

About this Collection

What do I want to find out?

What pupils think about a range of ways in which they could resolve a conflict.

What do I need?

For each individual or group of pupils

  • A set of the ‘What’s the best way to stop a conflict?’ cards.
  • ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and ‘Maybe’ cards.
  • Blank cards.
  • A sheet of sticky dots.
  • The questions ‘What’s the best way to stop a conflict?’ and ‘Which of these have you seen happening?’

What do I do?

Timing: 15 minutes

  • Choose a selection of cards, appropriate to the age of the pupils.
  • With younger children show them the cards and make sure they understand what the terms on them mean.
  • Give each pupil or group a set of cards and ask them ‘What’s the best way to stop a conflict?’
  • They should then arrange the cards under the ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and ‘Maybe’ cards.
  • Give them some blank cards to include their own suggestions.
  • Where possible record group discussions to gain an insight into how consensus was reached.
  • Ask each pupil to respond to the question ‘Which of these have you seen happening?’ by placing sticky dots on the appropriate cards.
  • Photograph the cards, with their sticky dots, in their final position once the individual or group has reached agreement about where to place them.
Fighting until someone wins Getting people on your side




Negotiating Compromising
Listening Agreeing to arbitration Finding someone who can talk to both sides


Backing down Using violence Name calling


Talking Thinking about what might happen next


Using a weapon

Carrying a weapon

Deciding who is to blame Avoiding violence


 As an alternative activity use the same cards for a diamond rank. Select either four (when working with younger children) or nine cards and pose the question ‘what’s the best way to resolve a conflict?’ Pupils then arrange the cards with their best option at the top of the diamond, the one they think would be the least successful at the bottom.

 These questions can be used as a stimulus for further discussion, as a way into a topic or theme exploring peace and conflict resolution or to prompt discussion about responses to historical or contemporary conflicts, locally and globally.

  • Why do countries have soldiers?
  • Why do people join the army?
  • What would happen if there were no army?
  • When is it all right to use force?
  • Why do countries go to war? Who decides?

 How do I analyse the results?

  • Using the ‘What’s the best way to stop a conflict?’ analysis table, refer to the photographs and tally the number of times each card has been placed under each heading, then record the totals.
  • Look for the number of times pupils choose peaceful means of resolving conflict, compared with more confrontation means.
  • Have they suggested other ways of resolving conflict?
  • Look for patterns in the types of conflict resolution pupils have seen. Have they seen more confrontation or peaceful means of resolution? How does this relate to where they have placed the cards?
  • From their discussions, what evidence is there of how pupils understand the different approaches to resolving conflict?
  • Is there a willingness to consider the consequences of each of the actions and of commitment to working for peace?

What’s the best way to stop a conflict? Analysis table

Card Yes total No total Maybe total
Fighting until someone wins

 How do I measure the change?

  • Repeat the activity with the same cards, or use those you didn’t use initially, depending on your timing.
  • Compare the results and look for an increased willingness to explore a wide range of ways to resolve conflict. To what extent are pupils more or less inclined to consider peaceful means?
  • Look for an increasing willingness to consider the consequences of each of the actions and of commitment to working for peace.

Featured image, Iraqi boys giving peace sign, by Christiaan Briggs. Via Wikimedia.