Students, in pairs, are asked to draw two different concepts/ideas at the same time using only one piece of paper and one marker. This drawing activity enables students to see how a conflict can emerge and develop.

Aims and objectives

  • to understand important factors which influence the development of conflicts
  • to understand that a conflict can be an opportunity for development
  • to raise awareness about the way a conflict emerges, develops and escalates

Material needed

  • Sheets of paper (one for each pair)
  • Markers (one for each pair)


Explain the rules of the activity to the students: „This is a drawing race which will be carried out without talking. It will last 5 minutes. For this activity use only the material in front of you.“

Step by step description

  1. The group is divided into pairs, one person will be A and the other person will be B. If there is an odd number of participants, one will have the role of the observer and reporter. If the group is bigger, choose 2-3 observers to follow the situation within the pairs.
  2. Distribute papers and markers to the pairs – one piece of paper and one marker for each pair.
  3. Give separate instructions for As and Bs: As should draw a town when the sun sets and Bs should draw a beach full of people. Both draw on one side of the paper at the same time.
  4. Stop the game after 5 minutes.

Reflection with the students / Questions for debriefing

  • What was your first reaction when you understood that your partner is drawing something else?
  • What were your feelings and thoughts at that moment?
  • When you understood that you have different tasks, how did this effect your feelings and behaviour?
  • Have you tried to find a personal solution how to fulfill this task?
  • Have you tried to find a common solution?
  • What do you think why you were not allowed to speak?
  • What is more helpful in conflict situations – the possibility to speak or the willingness to solve the conflict?

Summarize different reactions the students mentioned (withdrawal, aggression, compromise).

Continue with food for thought:

„Conflict is an inevitable part of our lives. We face it every day, so the question is, how we can perceive it and how we can react to it. The solution of a conflict situation mostly depends on the reaction to it.“

  • What is important if you want to solve a conflict?
  • Does one side have to be the winner and the other side the loser?

It is very important to make sure that all students leave the lesson without negative feelings or anger towards their partners. For that reason, during debriefing, it is necessary to listen to every participant and to raise awareness that the problem should be issued, not the person itself.

Suggestions for adaptations and variations

As an extension, students could take some minutes and reflect on the last conflict they had. They should think whom they were in conflict with, what happened and if they reached a solution or not. If the conflict could be solved: How did they finally come to a solution?

Reference / original source of the method

Dragana Radoman used this method in her Open Academy workshop “What’s your trigger?” at the aces Academy 2012 in Senec, Slovak Republic.

Further tips and resources

Compass – a manual on Human Rights Education with Young People. Council of Europe, May 2002.