3, 4, 5

Students will identify factions in society and recognize the problems/dangers/benefits of factional activities and/or fighting.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo to Three Forty-Five to Sixty-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • define "faction."
  • explain the cause of "factions."
  • identify an example of "factions" in current world events.
  • cite problems/dangers created by "factional fighting."
  • predict at least one benefit of "factional" activities.
  • The Butter Battle Book, by Dr. Suess
  • "One Tin Soldier" (recording and printed lyrics)
  • Unruled 5 x 9" cards
  • Teacher copyof Index Cards (Attachment One)
  • Teacher copyof Game: Dividing Into Groups (Attachment Two)
  • Teacher copyof Simulation Game (Attachment Three)
  • Studentcopiesof Assessment (Attachment Four--Spanish version, Attachment Five)
  • Lined paper/drawing paper
  • Pencils, crayons, markers, etc. (writing/drawing tools)
  • Badges (see Attachment Three for directions)
Home Connection 

Students (with adult assistance) can search for articles in periodicals (newspapers, magazines, etc.) that report examples of factional activities. These may be brought to school and posted on a bulletin board and/or read aloud or summarized by the students.

  • Dr. Seuss, Theodore Seuss Geisel. The Butter Battle Book. Econo-Clad Books, 1999. ISBN: 0881034215.
  • "One Tin Soldier" available on Super Hits of the 70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 7. Catalog Number: 70927. UPC: 81227092726. Format: CD (Cassette available). Release date: April 4, 1990, Rhino Records.


  1. Anticipatory Set:Divide the class into six cooperative groups of four-six students. Give each group an index card with three groups of people listed on it. See Index Cards (Attachment One). Each cooperative group must decide if the groups of people on their cards are communities, then explain why or why not.


    Day One:

  2. Read The Butter Battle Book aloud to the class, and then facilitate a discussion on the following questions:

    • What happened to the community in this book?
    • Why did this happen?
    • What was the difference of opinion about?
    • What was the result?
  3. Use the results of this discussion to lead to the introduction of the term faction (a group with a common interest that is often quarrelsome or self-seeking). This definition should be written on a card and posted, along with the definition of community (from previous lesson).

  4. Using Game: Dividing Into Groups (see Attachment Two), play a game to divide the class into factions.

  5. Day Two:

    Teacher Note: Part of this lesson is to be taught in one segment (early in the day), and will need to be completed and assessed at the end of the day.

  6. Give each student a copy of the lyrics to a story that has been made into a song, "One Tin Soldier."

  7. Tell the students to read along as the song is played. After hearing the song (once or twice, depending on the ability of the class), ask comprehension questions, such as:

    • What happened to the community in this song?
    • Why did this happen?
    • What are these groups called? (factions)
    • What was the result?
    • Does this happen in "real life?"
    • What are some examples? (race relations in the United States, religious differences in Northern Ireland, ethnic differences in Yugoslavia, tribal differences in Rwanda, older people/younger people, etc.)
  8. Teacher Note: Students may be unfamiliar with some of these situations. If necessary, take time at this point to study some current or historical events.

  9. Can any good things come from the activity of factions? What?

  10. Have students take part in Simulation Game (see Attachment Three).


Give each student a copy of Assessment (see Attachment Four), a questionnaire that asks them to identify their feelings during the simulation. The questionnaire will also ask students to predict possible outcomes (if the simulation continued) and discuss some potential dangers, problems, or benefits of factional activities.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.12 Identify the idea of factions in society.