Teach Venn Diagrams In Middle School Math

Five-group Venn diagram.

A Venn diagram is a way to represent the similarities and differences between groups. The most widely known Venn diagram involves two circles that overlap slightly in the middle. Each circle represents a different group. Write different attributes of each group within their respective circles. When the two groups share an attribute, that attribute is written once in the area where the two circles overlap. It is possible to have any number of groups; add one circle per group.


1. Draw two partially overlapping circles on the chalkboard (or whiteboard) big enough for the entire class to see.

2. Most students know a lot about animals.

Ask the class to name an animal. Write it as a header for one of the circles.

3. Asking for their celebrity icons helps students connect.

Ask the class to name a celebrity. Write their answer as the header of the other circle.

4. Ask the students to name traits associated with the groups. Write the traits that are shared by both groups in the area where the circles overlap. Write the traits not shared by both groups in the area where the circles don’t overlap.

5. Tell the students to come up with two groups on their own.

6. Instruct the students to individually create a Venn Diagram using the groups they created.

7. Attend to the students as they complete the process. Clear up any confusions as they arise.

8. Create another Venn Diagram on the chalkboard or whiteboard replacing animals with even numbers and celebrities with multiples of 3. Explain the benefits of grouping numbers into categories.

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