The Venn Diagram has been around for a long time, since the 1880's to be exact; and for good reason. The diagram offers a visual representation to help students see similarities and differences between two or more concepts. The diagram can also be used for classification, (Higher Order Thinking with Venn Diagrams, n.d.). When comparing two concepts, two circles are drawn, with a small area that intersects. Characteristics of each concept are assigned to each side, while shared characteristics go into the center portion where the two are overlapped. It can be useful in helping students to distinguish comparisons and contrasts between religions, events, leaders, etc.
The image to the right shows how a venn diagram can be used to compare more than two concept:
The benefits of using a Venn Diagram (Traylor, 2010)
How to use:
One of the reasons the venn diagram is so popular is it's ease of use and versatility. Students can draw the picture in their notes, or teachers can print out graphic organizers. If students have iPads or other technology capability, they can add them to pdf editors and draw in their answers. Teachers can also create large venn diagrams on the board and hand out post-it notes to students to put into the correct circle.
Venn Diagram lesson in action: Comparing and Contrasting Hinduism and Buddhism
1. After discussing taking notes on Hinduism and Buddhism in class, have students with a parter, create a venn diagram in their notes.
2. Students will label one circle 'Hinduism' and the other 'Buddhism.'
3. As a pair, students will look back through their notes to have a minimum of 4 characteristics in each portion of the diagram. *It is important to set a number so that students will have a strong grasp on the content, rather than writing down one or two then stopping.
4. After students have theirs filled out, open up a class discussion, focusing on characteristics on Hinduism, followed by characteristics of Buddhism, then characteristics of both. Have students add to their list based on their peers' answers.
5. When students are finished you can connect their venn diagram to an evaluative writing piece such as describe the characteristics of Buddhism. Or which one do you prefer?
Writing with Venn Diagram
The diagram can be used to collect research, and communicate ideas about a concept, therefore meeting the following Common Core standards:
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-3 above.)
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Higher order thinking with Venn diagrams. (n.d.). Higher order thinking with Venn diagrams. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/2646
kbradus. (2012, October 18). Venn Diagram-compare/Contrast. YouTube. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKVlo2Ha-uI
Sousa, J. (2011, June 27). Solving Problems with Venn Diagrams. YouTube. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MassxXy8iko
Traylor, D. (2010, September 12). The use of the Venn Diagram as a Learning Tool by Dean Traylor | Education Space 360. Retrieved July 21, 2014, from http://www.educationspace360.com/index.php/the-use-of-the-venn-diagram-as-a-learning-tool-7427/
Solving Problems with Venn Diagrams
This video is effective in showing the versatility of using Venn Diagrams. Here, a series of math problems are solved using the venn diagram to help visually organize the information for students to solve.
Venn Diagram - Compare/Contrast
This video shows how to introduce students to using a venn diagram in the classroom for the purpose of comparing and contrasting. The teacher models an example comparing fruits and vegetables, and provides her thinking process out loud for her students to see and add to the diagram. Setting up a venn diagram in this way helps students to have success when they create one on their own. She then has students practice the skill by comparing two different readings that they have done.