The "conflict escalator" is a useful idea for understanding conflict situations.
This activity suggests a way to introduce the concept to very young children (kindergarten or first grade).
Ask students if they know what an escalator is. Have they ever ridden on one? Where have they seen escalators? Why do they think people invented escalators? What do escalators do?
Elicit that escalators can take us up, and escalators can take us down. And escalators make it easy for us to go up and down.
Draw a diagram of an escalator on the chalkboard.
When a conflict starts small and then people do things that makes them angrier and angrier, we say they are "going up the conflict escalator." If they gradually calm down, we say that they "going down the conflict escalator."
Use puppets to act out the following dialogue between two children in the block area:
Daisy: Move over! You're making your building too close to mine.
Joseph: It's a free country. I'll build where I want to.
Daisy: Oh yeah? You build there and I'll knock it down.
Joseph: Oh yeah? Then I'll knock you down, stupid!
Daisy: Who are you calling stupid? [She pushes Joseph, who pushes back.]
Are they going up or down the conflict escalator? What suggestions do you have so that Daisy and Joseph can go down the conflict escalator and work out their problem?
Discuss: Have you ever gone up the conflict escalator? When? What happened? Have you ever gone down the conflict escalator? Did someone help you or did you do it yourself?
Back to top