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Conflict Resolution and Manipulative Skills

This is an excerpt from Elementary School Wellness Education With HKPropel Access by Matthew Cummiskey & Frances E. Cleland-Donnelly.

Grade Level: 4-5

Introductory Information

SHAPE America Outcomes

  • S1.E26.4 Combines traveling with the manipulative skills of dribbling, throwing, and striking in teacher and/or student designed small-sided practice task environments.

National Health Education Performance Indicators

  • 4.5.3 Demonstrate non-violent strategies to manage or resolve conflict.

Lesson Objectives

Students will be able to do the following:

  • Work collaboratively to create their own game.
  • Identify the eight conflict resolution strategies and apply them to scenarios.
  • Identify examples of conflicts in their lives.

Learning Materials and Technology

  • 3 pencils
  • 1 die
  • 8 scarves
  • 8 poles or wands
  • 8 hoops
  • 8 ropes
  • 8 balls
  • 8 scooters
  • 8 cones
  • 1 blank sheet of paper per 2 students
  • Resource handouts from HKPropel
    • Resource 1: 1 printout cut into a separate strip per scenario
    • Resource 2: 1 printout per 2 students
    • Resource 3: 1 printout per 2 students
    • Resource 4: 1 printout per 2 students

Resource handouts from HKPropel

Learning Activities

Lesson Introduction

  • WHAT are we learning today? Students will learn how to settle (resolve) problems (conflicts) with other students and will learn various manipulative skills.
  • WHY are we learning this? Conflict comes to everyone’s life, usually because people disagree about something. Being able to solve problems helps people get along better, be happier, and achieve more. Plus, learning this skill in elementary school will help students solve problems throughout their life.
  • HOW will learning be measured? Student performance will be measured using the self-check card (resource 4)

Activity 1: General Discussion (5 minutes)
Ask students what the word conflict means and gather the various opinions. Conflict is a disagreement about something. Students work with a partner and brainstorm a list of conflicts that they have experienced or can think of, and they write the list on a blank sheet of paper. Students put their names at the top. When finished, students share their list while you write responses on the whiteboard.

Next, tell students that on each strip of paper (resource 1) is an example of a conflict. Place all the strips inside an inverted cone held by the teacher. Each pair of students picks one strip of paper from the cone. The pair uses the T chart in resource 2 to identify possible underlying reasons for the conflict. The purpose of this task is for students to explore another person’s perspective and motivations in the conflict. Pick one of the conflicts listed on the whiteboard and verbally discuss an example T chart before beginning.

Activity 2: Wheel (10 minutes)
Pass out the conflict resolution strategies wheel (resource 3), giving one copy to each partner group, or projecting it on the gym wall. Discuss each of the strategies and give an example. Assign each pair two of the conflict resolution strategies. On resource 2, students write out two resolutions to the conflict assigned to them. When finished, ask volunteers to share their conflict and one resolution.

Activity 3: Create a Game (20 minutes)
This activity focuses on responsible decision-making and relationship management. Explain that the small groups (i.e., learning teams or squads) will work together to create a new game. The game includes the following criteria:

  • All players must be involved.
  • The game must use one of the following manipulative skills: underhand throw, overhand throw, passing with hands, catching, dribbling with the hands or feet, passing with the hands or feet, kicking, volleying, striking (with a long or short implement).
  • The game must use at least four pieces of equipment.
  • The game must have cooperative and competitive elements.
  • The game must have a designated playing area (boundaries).

Write the game criteria on a whiteboard or project it on the wall. Students have 10 minutes to create their game. Encourage the members of each team to use positive communication (super job; awesome idea; let’s keep trying; you are doing great) within each group. When the group is finished, students complete a self-check task card (resource 4). Each team then presents their game.

Debrief: Ask the following questions:

  • Did conflicts develop in your groups?
  • How did you resolve the conflicts?
  • What actions of the group were positive and helped move the group toward success?


  • Challenge task: Ask students to define empathy and how it can apply to the activity and everyday life.
  • Simplified task: Provide students with one or more steps to resolve the conflict, or shape their response with leading questions.

Ask students why there is still conflict even though there are so many conflict resolution strategies. Explain that conflict occurs when someone fails to take responsibility for their actions, fails to use conflict resolution strategies, or fails to see a conflict from someone else’s perspective. Students turn to a classmate, and the pairs identify as many of the eight conflict resolution strategies as they can.

More Excerpts From Elementary School Wellness Education With HKPropel Access