Global Education

Teacher resources to encourage a global
perspective across the curriculum

Peace building

Year level: 3-4

Students investigate reasons for conflict at a personal level and more broadly, and explore values, attitudes and actions that can help to promote lasting peace. They deepen their understanding by learning about a peace education project in Sierra Leone, which highlights the key role young people can play in helping communities to recover after war.

Students in Sierra Leone are happier at school and at home after learning peaceful strategies to deal with conflict.

Students in Sierra Leone are happier at school and at home after learning peaceful strategies to deal with conflict. Photo by Jane Weston

Identity and cultural diversity, Peace building and conflict resolution, Social justice and human rights

Australian Curriculum links

Learning areas


Year level: 3

Discuss texts in which characters, events and settings are portrayed in different ways, and speculate on the authors’ reasons (ACELT1594)

Draw connections between personal experiences and the worlds of texts, and share responses with others (ACELT1596)

Year level: 4

Discuss how authors and illustrators make stories exciting, moving and absorbing and hold readers’ interest by using various techniques, for example character development and plot tension (ACELT1605)

Interpret ideas and information in spoken texts and listen for key points in order to carry out tasks and use information to share and extend ideas and information (ACELY1687) 

General capabilities

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural understanding
  • Personal and social capability
  • Ethical behaviour

Activity 1: My peace

Students reflect on what peace means to them and identify factors contributing to peace.

Brainstorm with a partner: What does the word ‘peace’ mean to you? Create a response using words, actions, images, symbols, puppets, animation or music. You may use examples from media, literature or personal experience.

Share your work and display it in the classroom.

Identify and discuss key words and phrases that reflect your thoughts and ideas about peace, working in small groups or as a class. You may want to use and add to the following list:

  • peace
  • human rights
  • relationships
  • fairness and/or justice
  • solving conflict
  • opportunity
  • equality
  • democracy
  • tolerance

Create a word cloud or other graphic to reflect your thinking. Websites to help with creating word clouds include Wordle and Word it out.

Revisit and add to your peace words graphic as you continue your inquiry in other activities.

Activity 2: Peace begins with me

Students explore situations of potential conflict in their own experience and examine ways of resolving these to achieve peaceful outcomes through negotiation and compromise.

List and discuss some situations of potential conflict that could happen at school – for example, someone blames you falsely for a problem, someone calls you names, someone takes something that belongs to you, someone abuses your friend.

Develop role-plays with small groups, each presenting one of the situations of potential conflict.

Write dialogue for your role-play that shows the issue, and the kind of discussion and action that could resolve it with a fair outcome for everyone. (Note: You might like to consider this in terms of a ‘win/win’ outcome, which means that all parties consider the result to be positive. ‘Win/lose’ outcomes refer to situations where only some consider the result to be positive. A ‘lose/lose’ outcome means that no parties involved in the conflict are happy with the result.)

Use a Consequences chart to consider the situation from the points of view of the different people involved and obtain several alternative responses to the situation.

Rehearse the role-plays and present them to the class.

Discuss the following questions after you view each role-play:

  • How well was the issue resolved?
  • How did it affect the individual/s?
  • How would it affect people around them?
  • What could be the outcome if the issue wasn’t resolved?
  • What actions could stop this situation from happening again?

Add key words and ideas to the peace-words graphic created in Activity 1. For example, you could incorporate factors helping people to achieve peace.

Debate this statement: Peace begins with me.

Activity 3: Difference and diversity

Students explore how discrimination is represented in literature and examine how values and attitudes relating to diversity play a crucial part in peace building.


Books with a peace theme such as:  

  • I Can Hear the Sun by Patricia Polacco
  • The Island by Armin Greder
  • The Secret Footprints by Julia Alvarez
  • The Bracelet by Yoshiko Uchida
  • Feathers and Fools by Mem Fox
  • Jungle Drums by Graeme Base
  • The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

Nine Values for Australian Schooling (optional) to reflect on specific values and how they contribute to peace.


  • What do you think of when you hear the terms ‘difference’, ‘diversity’ and ‘discrimination’?
  • Why might conflict sometimes arise from difference and diversity? 

Choose one of the suggested books.

Read, discuss and review the book in small groups, exploring conflict arising from discrimination, difference and diversity.

Investigate the themes in the book, and character responses and attitudes towards the situation.

Organise a Socratic circle activity. Each group has the opportunity to participate in the inner circle presenting their book to the outer circle, describing the story and the issues and themes in the book. The outer circle asks questions in an attempt to further explore issues and themes within the book.

Questions could be selected from the following:

  • How did the characters in the book respond to difference and diversity?
  • How did characters in the text discriminate against others?
  • What were the types of discrimination in the book – racial, gender, physical, cultural, other?
  • Was conflict resolved in the text? If so, how?
  • How did characters’ values and attitudes relating to difference and diversity change throughout the text?
  • Did any characters in the book promote peace? How?
  • How do the illustrations in the text reflect the issues and values? What alternative illustrations could be used?

Reflect on and discuss as a class:

  • How do the themes explored in your reading relate to your own experience, or experiences you know about?
  • How do you think conflict related to difference and diversity can most effectively be prevented or resolved?

Create and share your own illustrations and/or stories on the theme of peace, drawing on any of the ideas you have explored through your reading and discussion.

Activity 4: Rights for everyone

Students explore human rights, with a focus on how the protection of children’s rights contributes to peace building.

Explore the term ‘rights’ as a Think, pair, share activity, discussing the following questions.

  • What are human rights?
  • Who has rights?
  • Why are rights important?
  • How are rights protected?

Record your ideas using a spider diagram with the body labelled ‘Rights’ and the legs labelled: ‘What are rights?’, ‘Why are rights important?’, ‘Who has rights?’ and ‘How are rights protected?’

Discuss the following questions as a class:

  • What rights do we value in Australia? Why?
  • How can protecting people’s rights contribute to peace?
  • What rights should exist for all children around the world?

Access and discuss the plain language version of the Declaration on the Rights of the Child (or use the plain language version of the legally binding Convention on the Rights of the Child).

View the Unicef photo essays exploring the Convention on the Rights of the Child at and

Select three rights that contribute to peace and write statements about how they do so.

Discuss how these rights might be experienced in your life and the lives of young people in different parts of the world.

Express your understanding in a visual presentation, including the statements you wrote, together with images you find or create, and labels or captions.

Related activity

See the following related activity in Human rights. It could be adapted to have a particular focus on International Peace Day, 21 September, which helps us to commemorate and strengthen the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.

Respecting and protecting human rights (middle primary)
Activity 5: Special days for human rights

Students develop an understanding of human rights through designing a calendar of activities for observing international days associated with the protection of human rights.

Activity 5: Peace building in Sierra Leone

Students consider how wars and conflict affect children, and how children recover after conflict and can contribute to peace building.


  • A Life Like Mine by Anabel and Barnabas Kindersley

Brainstorm knowledge and ideas about how wars and conflict affect children, and what might help children to recover from experiences of war.

Read about Isa, a boy from Sierra Leone whose life has been affected by war, in A Life Like Mine. (Isa’s story is in Section 3: Protection – the pages relating to ‘war and recovery’.)

Read case study Building peace in Sierra Leone. This describes a project that has helped schools in Sierra Leone play a key part in peace building after their country experienced a decade of civil war. You could break the reading into stages:

  • Read the first paragraph to help you understand the background.
  • Examine the photos and captions and discuss your ideas and predictions about what ‘peace education’ might involve.
  • Read the remaining sections of the case study.

Create a Consequences chart  showing alternative ways of life after the war for young people affected by the conflict. For example, put ‘life after war’ in the first circle, with ‘feeling fear about the future’ as one consequence, compared with ‘feeling hopeful about the future’ as another consequence.

Discuss the following key elements of the peace education lessons. Why would these be important?

  • clear communication
  • understanding the rights of others
  • negotiation skills
  • forgiveness and compassion
  • breaking the cycle of violence and replacing it with new ways of dealing with conflict.

Select one point from the list and create a Web map to show how it contributes to peace education.

Review the comments made by children experiencing the activities from the Peace Education Kit in the case study Building peace in Sierra Leone. What can you learn from these?

Select one of the comments and develop a role-play around it.

Activity 6: Peace matters

Students reflect on what they have learnt regarding peace building and the many ways in which peace makes a difference to people’s lives. They express personal dreams of peace and ideas about how peace might be achieved.

Reflect on and discuss what you have learnt about:

  • factors that can contribute to a lack of peace
  • the effect of conflict on people’s lives
  • what individuals and communities can do to build peace
  • the role that values and attitudes have in peace building
  • why peace matters.

Share and discuss any questions you may have. 

Form groups to discuss your ideas on peace and write about them. For example, you could:

  • Create sentences that start with the word ‘Peace ’. For example, these could begin ‘Peace is . . .’, ‘Peace is possible when . . . ’, ‘Peace needs . . .’, ‘Peace creates . . .’.
  • Create an acrostic poem (ie the lines will begin with the letters p – e – a – c – e).
  • Create a peace rap.

Discuss the question ‘What is your dream of peace?’ You could use a Placemat activity to consider individual ideas and then discuss and record a group response.  

Agree in your group on an interesting way to present your work to the class and school community.

Record an action you can take to build your personal or community peace. For example, you might start by planning a ‘peace week’, in which you have displays and special events, and make a personal commitment to do something every day that contributes to peace.

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Students in Sierra Leone are happier at school and at home after learning peaceful strategies to deal with conflict.
Photo by Jane Weston
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Students in Sierra Leone are happier at school and at home after learning peaceful strategies to deal with conflict. Photo by Jane Weston