Venn Diagram Basic

Description: Two items linked by characteristics or attributes.

Uses: Describe and compare attributes and characteristics of items (things, people, places, events, ideas, etc.)

Critical Questions:

  • What items do you want to compare? What characteristics do the items have in common (intersecting portion)?
  • How are the items similar (the same) and different (non intersecting portion) based on the characteristics?

Graphic Organizers

Suggestions: Venn diagrams are useful as a graphics organization tool when comparing two things (and particularly for use with younger children). Simple Venn diagrams are used, in which no more than two curves intersect at a common point. Shared characteristics are listed in the overlapping section allowing for easy identification of which characteristics are shared and which aren't. String or colored yarn can be used to make circles on the floor and manipulatives and pictures are strongly encouraged.

Programs like SmartDraw and Microsoft Powerpoint allow for the drawing of Venn diagrams on PCs. And you can draw your own here.

A useful tool to start children writing about what is similar and what is not. A better tool to use is the Double Cell Diagram. See also Venn Diagram Expanded for comparing three items. More on Venn diagrams.


venn diagram

A Venn diagram serves to organize students' thoughts, and is labeled according to the topic at hand and the aspects that need to be compared and contrasted. Due to their relatively simple structure and visually effective nature, Venn diagrams are considered to be an indispensable educational technique, equally useful for both children and adults. Most teachers prefer to use a Venn diagram as a pre-writing activity in order to help students categorize the knowledge they have already gained. Having classified all the similarities and differences, students are able to make an in-depth analysis of the topic and draw a well-grounded conclusion.

Venn diagrams can be successfully applied to a wide range of subjects. For instance, students can compare and contrast several cities and their climates during a Geography lesson, organize various animals or different cell structures in Biology and study the character traits of different protagonists in works of twentieth century Literature. The key point is to determine the objects that need to be compared beforehand. The more aspects that are included in a Venn diagram, the more comprehensive the analysis is. To optimize the process you can use various colors and shapes. Originally, Venn diagrams were made using simple circles; however, triangles and quadrangles can be also used, especially when constructing several diagrams at the same time. If used correctly, this graphic tool makes the teaching and learning process a lot more interesting and effective.

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