Family Role-Play:

Building Bridges A High School Curriculum on Negotiation


A high school curriculum on resolving differences through negotiation


Please note: you must order a copy (a.k.a. license/usage fee) for every person participating in the simulation in your course. This simulation has multiple roles, so you will be unable to complete your purchase without meeting the minimum quantity requirement of copies per role.

Read more.

PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

Close window

Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.

Bulk Pricing Discount

For bulk orders, we offer the following pricing discounts. Please note that these only apply to bulk orders of the same simulation.

  • Between 100-250 copies – 10% discount
  • Between 251-500 copies – 25% discount
  • More than 500 copies – 50% discount
Log In or Register to download the free Teacher's Package Sample.

Through the use of three role plays, the Building Bridges curriculum helps students learn how to resolve their differences through negotiation. The curriculum is based on the principled negotiation method developed by Roger Fisher (co-author of the bestselling book Getting to YES) and his colleagues at the Harvard Negotiation Project.

The curriculum includes three role plays, a sample syllabus, a background memo on teaching negotiation, a memo on the goals of teaching negotiation, and a memo on student-generated role plays. Please note that the cost of the Building Bridges curriculum package includes a copyright license to duplicate the role plays. The role play scenarios are as follows:


"How Could You Say That?": This simulation is between two high-school siblings. In a previous conversation, the younger sibling has asked the older sibling for help finding a job in the same mall where the older sibling worked. A misunderstanding resulted, and the siblings became upset with one another. The siblings are now meeting to try and resolve the issue.


Major lessons:

Exercises help students to:

  • Focus on underlying interests rather than positions or demands.
  • Invent options that are good for both parties.
  • Use legitimacy and persuasion rather than force or violence.
  • Develop empathy, to see the problem from the other's perspective.
  • Become aware of the role emotions play in negotiation.
  • Learn the importance of listening in negotiation.


Teaching Materials Include:

  • Confidential Instructions for Cory (older sibling)
  • Confidential Instructions for Terry (younger sibling)
  • Teaching Note


The Leather Jacket: This simulation is between two high-school friends. One student just bought a leather jacket at a one-day sale which, unfortunately, doesn't fit. The jacket does fit the second student perfectly, however, and the second student is very interested in buying it. The issue to be negotiated is price. The first student purchased the jacket for $100 but needs $150 to purchase a properly fitting jacket at its original, non-sale price. The second student knows that the first student bought the jacket on sale.


Teaching Materials Include:

  • Confidential Instructions for the Buyer
  • Confidential Instructions for the Seller
  • Teaching Note


Playing Time: This simulation is between a high school basketball player and his/her coach. The students wants more playing time on the basketball team; the coach thinks that the students needs more work. The two have agreed to meet to discuss the situation.


Teaching materials include:

  • Confidential Instructions for the Coach
  • Confidential Instructions for the Player
  • Teaching Note

Building Bridges Attributes

Author: Roger Fisher & Doug Stone
Publisher: Cambridge, MA: PON Books, 1999
Time required:
Number of participants:
Teams involved:
Agent present:
Neutral third party present:
Teaching notes available: