Teaching Conflict Resolution with Art

Visit Center for Diversified ARTThese are a variety of creative arts activity ideas for using different artistic genres to teach kids how to identify confrontational issues and use creativity to find solutions. These activities help kids find the causes of confrontation (bullying, race, socioeconomic status, misunderstandings, etc.), understand how it plays out, how it makes people feel, and how alternatives can change the outcome. They inspire kids to think about and discuss conflict/resolution situations. It also opens the door to teach kids the tools they need to feel empowered and deal effectively with these issues. This activity can be used in a language arts, social studies, ESE, art, or theater class, it can also be applied at home to help kids work out their differences.

Teaching Conflict Resolution with Art

Grade Level: Elementary – High School, Adjust complexity of concepts and materials according to grade level.

Subject: Visual Arts, Theater, Life Skills, Language Arts, Social Studies

Unit (Theme or Topic): Conflict Resolution


  • Experience creating/developing a variety of artistic genres; comic strip, video, written story, live theater/play.
  • Uses different artistic genres and creativity to illustrate feelings, thoughts, and concepts.
  • Teaches the components of conflict/resolution
  • Gains experience in practical applications of creative problem solving
  • Different genres appeal to different types of learners

Materials: Can be done using any of the following artistic mediums/genres;

  • computer graphics program (comic strip, video)
  • video/film (scene development)
  • live theater/play (scene development)
  • drawing and painting (comic strip)
  • written story

Procedures: After choosing an artistic genre.

As a class discussion list typical situations where students might find themselves in conflict. These might be bullying, race, socio-economic or gender related. List these on the board.

Divide students into groups. Have each group select one of the topics, allowing them to choose the one they find most engaging.

Concept Mapping
Student groups map out the concept they’ve chosen, listing ideas and incidents tied to the theme. Guide them in thinking about what causes confrontation, how it plays out, how it makes people feel, and how different alternatives can not only change the outcome, but change the people involved. Emphasize artistic genres have the capacity to change and inspire, for example; inspiring movies, thought provoking art, moving literature, etc.

Story Concept
Explain that a story, movie, video, or comic strip has parts: a beginning, middle and end. Their story, comic strip, video or theater scenes will have five parts.

  1. Beginning
  2. A scene to advance the story
  3. Middle
  4. A scene to advance the story
  5. Ending

Have student groups discuss how their story begins and ends. Then have them add a middle. Finally, let them create the two scenes that will complete their story. Allow them to imagine different solutions for the end to gain an understanding how each different scenario will effect the people involved and change the outcome.

Draw, paint, film, story, computer graphics or theater
Students divide the story into five frames or scenes. Words, drawings, video clips, theater or movie scenes must flow from one scene to another, so it is important that they discuss what is going on and create different scenes and solutions. Is this real? Can you see this really happening? Is this how people in our school actually speak? What is the most positive outcome? What is the most negative outcome? What is the most realistic outcome?

Students can read their work to the class, publish them on a class website, use a visual art exhibit or present their work in a play or video depending on which artistic genre is used.

Critique/Artistic Analysis If using an art critique, follow the guidelines of artistic criticism; describe, analyze, interpretation, judgement

This is a series of creative arts activities developed from a social studies lesson found on the TDSI website. “Teaching Tolerance” published one of our versions.

Teaching Conflict Resolution with Art Vol. 1 no. 1 ©April 2010, Published by Diversified ART™  ISSN 2166-3661

About Diversified ART

Community-based artists guild, international artist registry, and digital gallery with classes, activities, and programs in the visual arts. Our organization focuses on the visual arts and social and environmental consciousness.
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