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Teaching Peace Over Conflict – A Lesson Plan on “Peace vs War” for High School Students

Teaching Peace Over Conflict

Concepts of Peace and War

It is essential for students to understand the differences between peace and war in order to appreciate the importance of promoting peace in our society.

Peace refers to a state of harmony, tranquility, and non-violence, while war represents a state of armed conflict and hostility.

Causes and Impacts of War

It’s crucial for students to understand the causes and impacts of war in order to be able to predict how to prevent it in the future.  

Some common causes of war include:

  • Territorial disputes.
  • Political ideologies.
  • Economic interests.
  • Religious differences.

Wars can have profound impacts on individuals, communities, and nations. The impacts of war can include:

  • Loss of life.
  • Destruction of infrastructure.
  • Displacement of populations.
  • Economic instability.
  • Long-lasting social and psychological consequences.

Alternatives to Violence and War

Promoting peace and seeking alternatives to violence and war is essential for creating a harmonious and just society.

There are various strategies and approaches that can be employed to resolve conflicts peacefully. These include:

  • Negotiation.
  • Mediation.
  • Diplomacy
  • Dialogue.
  • Non-violent resistance.

By encouraging dialogue and understanding, we can foster a culture of peace and tolerance where conflicts can be resolved through peaceful means.

In Brief

It is important for the teachers to develop their students’ appreciation to the importance of peace and discuss with them the causes and impacts of war, and alternatives to violence and war.

By understanding these concepts, students can develop critical thinking skills, empathy, and a sense of global citizenship.

A Lesson Plan

Here is a suggested lesson plan to teach the topic “Peace vs War.”

Grade Level: High school (9th–12th grade)


By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast the concepts of peace and war.
  • Analyze the causes and impacts of war.
  • Explore alternatives to violence and war.

Materials Needed:

  • Whiteboard/chalkboard
  • Markers/chalk
  • Paper and writing utensils for students 

Opener (Warm-up Activity) (5 minutes):

  • Ask students to share what comes to mind when they hear the words “peace” and “war.” Write responses on the board.
  • Explain that today’s lesson will focus on examining these two concepts more deeply.

Presentation (10 minutes):

Define peace and war and elicit the causes of war (differences in religion, ideology, etc.).

Small Group Discussion (10 minutes):

  • Divide students into small groups and assign each group a war to discuss (ex: World War 2, Gaza War, etc.).
  • Groups will analyze their assigned war and identify the causes and impacts.

Show & Tell (10 minutes):

Have each group present a summary of their findings around the room. Students will come to the front and talk about each war.

Whole Class Discussion (10 minutes):

As a class, discuss what was learned about the causes and impacts of war. Ask students if they think war is ever justified.

Free Writing (10 minutes):

  • Have students free-write in their notebooks, responding to the prompts:

1. How could peace be promoted in our world today?

2. What alternatives to war exist?

  • Then, have some students read what they have written and ask for feedback from other students.

Wrap-Up (5 minutes):

Summarize the main ideas covered and have students share their reflections, emphasizing alternatives to violence.


Assign a project for students to do in groups to show the impacts of wars, how to prevent them in the future, and how to spread peace among people all over the world.

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