A Venn Diagram is a visual representation of the answer to a problem.

Logic sometimes looks out of place in an illogical world. For this reason, problem-solving tools are helpful to use when trying to arrive at a logical solution for abstract problems. One useful visual organizer is the Venn Diagram. It was invented in 1881 by John Venn to make the problem-solving process smoother. Although you will still need to use your brain to discover a problem’s solution, the Venn Diagram spurs your visual thinking skills by providing you space to organize essential information from your problem. This is particularly effective on a smartboard in front of the class.

## Instructions

1. Read your problem carefully. Problem-solving tools such as the Venn Diagram are only useful if you are able to extract meaningful data from the problem you are dealing with. Of course, the diagram itself cannot solve the problem for you. Rather, it can serve as a visual organizer, permitting you to neatly sort out different sets of information. Let your brain play a part in the problem-solving process as well, paying attention to every element of the problem itself.

2. Draw at least two circles, permitting them to overlap at their edges. A Venn Diagram is easy to make because you only need to draw two circles close together, allowing them to share space with each other. As a result, you are provided with three distinct areas of space. Venn Diagrams are easy to draw, and using them can easily stimulate your visual thinking power.

3. Isolate differences between two sets of information. Once you have drawn your diagram, you should begin your problem-solving process by searching for differences between sets of information. For example, if John, Mary and Trina like strawberry ice cream and Chris, Lisa and Bernie like chocolate ice cream, you should designate a circle of your diagram to list those who like strawberry and another circle for those who like chocolate.

4. Observe similarities between the two sets of information. Just because a person likes chocolate ice cream, they may still like vanilla. Strawberry-lovers may also like other flavors as well. So, if John, Bernie and Lisa like vanilla in addition to chocolate or strawberry, you can represent this information in the center of the Venn Diagram where the circles overlap. This area of the diagram is sort of a “no man’s land” where elements from both circles can share space with one another.

5. Return to your original problem, using your Venn Diagram to help solve it. Remember that the ultimate goal of your problem-solving process is to actually solve the problem rather than to simply draw your diagram. For this reason, write clearly as you use this visual organizer so that you can read your own writing later when you’re trying to use the information. You will usually not be graded on how well you draw your Venn Diagram; instead, your grade usually depends on whether you are able to provide the correct solution for the given problem.