Teachers are great lovers of Venn diagrams, and students can make logical connections quickly and effectively when they learn to use them. The good news is, at today’s current level of technology, teachers no longer need to spend their off hours tracing circles and coloring on poster board to use them. Word and presentation programs can help you draw and print Venn diagrams, or you can use an easy online utility that allows you to enter your data, customize colors and print your diagram all in the time it takes your students come back in from recess.
1. Decide on a concept for your presentation. Venn diagrams are useful because they help students understand how two or more sets of data–demographic information, for example–are distinct and how they overlap.
2. Visit one of the many online resources available to build your diagram. Teach-nology.com and readwritethink.org offer easy-to-use online tools for teaching plans, student materials and diagrams.
3. Decide how many circles you need to work with. Two overlapping sets of data obviously demand two circles, while three circles can give a more complete and complex picture for advanced students.
4. Enter headings for your circles where prompted. Each data set should fit a category, so each circle should have a heading. Readwritethink.org begins with a page where you can enter a title for the diagram and subheadings for each of the circles. (To access it, go to the homepage, select “Student materials,” “Venn diagram,” then follow the link provided.)
5. Drag the circles to change the way they intersect. This customization allows you to differentiate between slightly and dramatically overlapping data sets.
6. Print according to the website’s instructions, and add professional-looking diagrams to your lesson plan.
7. Use a downloadable template for your diagrams if you’d like to save them for later use. Many online utilities allow you to build and print but not save the diagrams. If you have the necessary program (Word, Powerpoint), you can download an already-built template online if the prospect of creating one from scratch seems too daunting.