# Introducing the Venn Diagram in the Kindergarten Classroom

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## Overview

The Venn diagram in kindergarten? Yes! Venn diagrams can be used effectively by our youngest students. The trick is to make them user-friendly, hands-on, and developmentally appropriate as a tool even kindergarten students can use with ease. Guide students toward an understanding of the Venn diagram by letting them physically manipulate hoola hoops. Begin with two hoops and two colors of blass, with one ball containing both colors. With the hoops side by side, have students to help you sort the balls, with one color in each hoop. Allow students to problem-solve to figure out what to do with the bi-colored ball, prompting them by physically overlapping the hoola hoops if needed. help students label the Venn diagram using index cards, and explore other ways it can be used. In other sessions, students can sort shapes, animals, and other objects.

## Featured Resources

**Interactive Venn Diagram**: Use this online tool during prewriting to organize ideas for a compare and contrast essay.

## From Theory to Practice

As Phyllis and David Whitin tell us in their *Math is Language Too*, "Writing and talking are ways that learners can make their mathematical thinking visible. Both writing and talking are tools for collaboration, discovery, and reflection. For instance, talking is fluid; it allows for a quick interchange of ideas; learners can modify, elaborate and generate ideas in a free-wheeling manner. Talking also allows for the quick brainstorming of many possible ideas, thereby giving the group many directions to consider. It is this ‘rough-draft' talk that allows peers and teachers a window into each other's thinking" (2). As they sort objects into unions and sets in this lesson plan, students make their thinking visible through similar "rough-draft" talk. By thinking aloud about their choices in this lesson, students are invited to be storytellers as they explore the connections between mathematics and language.

**Further Reading**

## Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

## State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

## NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

- 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
- 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
- 7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
- 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
- 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
- 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

## Materials and Technology

- Two hula hoops (Jump ropes may also be used to form the two circles, but are more difficult to move to form overlapping circles.)
- Items to be sorted: 6-10 items per Venn diagram. Items from the classroom are ideal.
- Writing materials, index cards, and sentence strips
- Drawing supplies and scissors

## Printouts

## Websites

## Preparation

- Decide which content area sorting system you'll use to introduce the Venn diagram to students, and collect the classroom items that students will sort.
- Make copies of the Venn Diagram Graphic Organizer and Venn Diagram Self-Assessment, if desired.
- Test the Introducing the Venn Diagram interactive and Interactive Venn Diagram on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tools and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.

## Student Objectives

Students will

- solve problems as they sort, compare, and contrast items.
- display and share information using the Venn diagram as a graphic organizing tool.
- explain the reasons for their solutions.
- work cooperatively in small groups.

## Art and Math: Venn Diagrams Based on Color

- Assemble 3 red objects, 3 yellow objects, and 1 red and yellow object along with 2 hula hoops. The objects can be small cars, blocks, pattern blocks, balls, bears, dinosaurs, and so forth.
- Place the two hula hoops on the floor, not touching, and assemble students on the floor, sitting around the hoops.
- Share the 3 red objects and the 3 yellow objects and ask the students to help you sort the objects into two sets.
- Help students place the red items within one hula hoop and the yellow items within the other, urging students to discuss their thoughts as they decide which circle the items belong within.
- Show the students the red and yellow object (such as a red and yellow ball), and ask students which set it would go in. Encourage students to think about as they work on a solution to the problem of what to do with an object that could go in either set.
- Overlap the two hula hoops forming a two-circle Venn diagram. Demonstrate how the red and yellow object can now fit in the middle section.
- Using the index cards, help the students label each section: Red things, Yellow things, and Red and Yellow things.
- Using a sentence strip, help the students decide on a name for their Venn diagram and share the pen to write the title.
- Introduce the term Venn diagram, and encourage the students to think of ways that the Venn diagram could be used as a tool to sort various items.
- Print off the Venn Diagram Graphic Organizer.
- Ask students to draw in the objects they sorted and labeled on their worksheets.
- Using the Interactive Venn Diagram, show students how a Venn diagram can also be used to record the work they did and display the information to share with others. (They will use words rather than objects on this Venn diagram.) Print out and display the Venn diagram.
- Place the materials in a center for independent practice in sorting.
*Enrichment Options*- Use the Introducing the Venn Diagram interactive to review and practice the sorting activity.
- This activity can be repeated using items of different colors.
- Introduce some blue objects and ask where those items could go on the Venn diagram. Encourage the students to think aloud as they work to solve the problem of what to do with the new items and help them to see that they do not fit in the Venn diagram and need to be placed outside of the circles.
- Encourage students to collect other items that would or would not fit their Venn diagram.
- Encourage students to brainstorm other items to sort using Venn diagrams.

- Use the Introducing the Venn Diagram interactive to review and practice the sorting activity.

## Math: Venn Diagrams Based on Shape

- Assemble 4 circles, 4 triangles, and 1 cone along with 2 hula hoops. The two dimensional objects could be pattern blocks or shapes cut from heavy paper and the cone could be any three dimensional cone-shaped object.
- Place the two hula hoops on the floor, not touching, and assemble students on the floor, sitting around the hoops.
- Share the circles and triangles and ask the students to help you sort the objects into two sets.
- Help the students place the set of circles within one hula hoop and the set of triangles within the other, urging students to discuss their thoughts as they decide which circle the items belong within.
- Show the students the cone-shaped object and ask students which set it would go in. Encourage students to think about as they work on a solution to the problem of what to do with an object that could go in either set. If students have not been introduced to the cone shape previously, introduce the term and show how it resembles an ice cream cone.
- Overlap the two hula hoops forming a two-circle Venn diagram. Demonstrate how the cone-shaped object can now fit in the middle section.
- Using the index cards, help the students label each section.
- Using a sentence strip, help the students decide on a name for their Venn diagram and share the pen to write the titles.
- Introduce the term Venn diagram and encourage the students to think of ways that the Venn diagram could be used as a tool to sort various items.
- Print off the Venn Diagram Graphic Organizer.
- Ask students to draw in the objects they sorted and labeled on their worksheets.
- Using the Interactive Venn Diagram, show students how a Venn diagram can also be used to record the work they did and display the information to share with others. (They will use words rather than objects on this Venn diagram.) Print out and display the Venn diagram.
- Place the materials in a center for independent practice in sorting.
*Enrichment Options*- Introduce a square shape and ask where it might belong on the diagram. Encourage the students to problem solve what to do with the added shape and help them to see that it does not fit in their Venn diagram and needs to be placed outside of the circles.
- This activity can be repeated using different two and three dimensional shapes.
- Encourage students to collect other shapes that would or would not fit their Venn diagram.
- Encourage students to brainstorm other items to sort using Venn diagrams.

- Introduce a square shape and ask where it might belong on the diagram. Encourage the students to problem solve what to do with the added shape and help them to see that it does not fit in their Venn diagram and needs to be placed outside of the circles.

## Social Studies: Venn Diagrams Based on Favorite Pets

- Have students draw pictures of their pets. Students who have more than one pet should be encouraged to draw their pets with spaces between them so they can be cut apart later. Students who do not have pets can draw a pet or pets they would like to have.
- Place the two hula hoops on the floor, not touching, and assemble students on the floor, sitting around the hoops.
- Label one hoop "Cats" and one hoop "Dogs" with the students sharing the pen to write the labels.
- Have the students with only cats drawn as their pets put their pictures within the hoop labeled "Cats."
- Have students with only dogs drawn as their favorite pets put their pictures within the hoop labeled "Dogs."
- Ask if any students have both cats and dogs and have them hold up their pictures.
- Overlap the two hula hoops forming a two-circle Venn diagram. Demonstrate how the pictures with cats and dogs can now fit in the middle section.
- Using the index cards, help the students label that section: "Cats and Dogs."
- Have the students who have not yet sorted their pictures decide where their pictures would go on the graphic organizer. Encourage the students to problem solve what to do with these pets.
- Those with cats and/or dogs included in their pictures may choose to cut those pets out and add them to the Venn diagram. The other animals can be place outside of the circles, since they do not fit on a cat and dog Venn diagram.
- Using a sentence strip, help the students decide on a name for their Venn diagram and share the pen to write the title.
- Introduce the term Venn diagram and encourage the students to think of ways that the Venn diagram could be used as a tool to sort various items.
- Print off the Venn Diagram Graphic Organizer.
- Ask students to draw in the objects they sorted and labeled on their worksheets.
- Using the Interactive Venn Diagram, show the students how a Venn diagram can also be used to record the work they did and display the information to share with others.
- Print out the Venn diagram formed with words rather than the objects and display in the room.
- Place the materials in a center for independent practice in sorting.
*Enrichment Options*- This activity can be repeated using other ways to sort their favorite pets.
- After sufficient practice in sorting favorite pets has been mastered, the activity can be repeated with other favorite things: ice cream flavors, favorite recess activities, favorite foods, etc.
- Encourage students to brainstorm other items to sort using Venn diagrams.

- This activity can be repeated using other ways to sort their favorite pets.

## Extensions

- When students have had lots of hands-on practice with objects they can manipulate and move from one circle to another, they can start to do more abstract concepts using words and pictures to create their own Venn diagrams. To extend the activity to your science curriculum, invite students to use the Venn diagram to compare and contrast trees and flowers, insects and spiders, living and nonliving things, teddy bears and real bears, and so forth. Use the Venn diagram in your literature curriculum by asking students to compare and contrast two characters in a story, two books by the same author, two plots, two different authors, or two different illustrators and their styles.
- Once students understand the basics of the Venn diagram, challenge their logical skills with this PBSKids' interactive, which invites students to sort imaginary animals into categories in the Logic Zoo.

## Student Assessment / Reflections

- Use anecdotal notetaking or kidwatching to track students’ cognitive skills as they explain their thinking in sorting, comparing and contrasting, and forming the Venn diagram.
- If students record their work on the Venn Diagram Graphic Organizer, check for accuracy in the unions and sets that students have recorded. Encourage students to label their diagrams and to explain their work using think-aloud techniques. Be sure that students make their thinking visible through “rough-draft” talk as they explore the connections between mathematics and language.
- Make copies of the completed diagrams for students to share with their families or post in the classroom for informal feedback.
- Finally, invite student to reflect on what they’ve learned using the Venn Diagram Self-Assessment.

I plan to use this in my K class on animals. Sort by land, water, air;more ; by colors; by size, by food, etc.

I plan to use this in my K class on animals. Sort by land, water, air;more ; by colors; by size, by food, etc.

I plan to use this in my K class on animals. Sort by land, water, air;more ; by colors; by size, by food, etc.

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