Identifying Conflicts

Social Studies

Students will identify different types of conflicts present in various situations.

What You Need

What to Do

  1. Open the class by conducting a dialogue with yourself over a decision you are trying to make. Use different voices, personae, or props to help differentiate between the opposing sides of the conflict.
    "I really need a new car."
    "But I can't afford it right now."
    "Yeah, but my old car's a mess. The brakes are bad, the transmission's shot, and it's got 200,000 miles on it."
    "Oh, I bet it can make it a while longer."
    "Remember that good deal you saw on the Mazda?"
    "Oh, I couldn't get anything like that. A nice used Escort would be fine. . ."
  2. Ask students to describe the type of conflict in this role-playing. (internal) Ask what kinds of feelings this type of conflict gives rise to. (stress, tension, indecision, confusion)
  3. Ask the class to list other types of conflicts they've experienced (between friends, between themselves and teachers, between parents, etc.). Label these external conflicts and discuss what kinds of feelings these conflicts provoke (anger, frustration, hurt, jealousy, fear, etc.). Compare and contrast these feelings with feelings provoked by internal conflicts.
  4. Tell the class about other, more global types of conflicts:
    • Man vs. Nature—the challenges people face in regard to extremities of weather, environment, time, geography, etc.
    • Man vs. Society—the anger that people feel when faced with injustice, oppression, unfairness, etc.
  5. Divide the class into groups. Distribute the Conflicts worksheet and ask each group to discuss and identify the types of conflicts described. (Note that there may be more than one conflict in a situation—because that's the way life is!)
  6. Now have students choose one conflict to write about in their journals: personal (internal or external) or global (Man vs. Nature or Man vs. Society). Volunteers can share with their group or the class.

Teaching Options