Venn Diagrams

Literacy Strategy 47

What is it?

Venn Diagrams are 2 or more overlapping circles that compare and contrast topics. The middle section of the overlapping circle(s) is where students put similarities of the topics that they are comparing.

Sometimes teachers draw the circles and the whole class works together to fill it in, and other times students work independently or in small groups to complete this task.

Why use it?

-It allows students to think deeper about a topic.

-It can be a good introduction to a new lesson to see what students know about a certain topic or topics.

-Ties two or more topics together to build on learning, and so students can see relationships of topics.

-Team builder. Lets students see how they are alike and different.

-It can be a great way to assess students after a lesson. Teacher can see their understanding of a topic by having students complete a venn diagram at the end of a unit.

How do I use this?

Teacher can create/provide venn diagram for students or they can draw it themselves, then follow these steps to complete a venn diagram.


1. Teacher provides a topic, or poses a question. Then the students brainstorm a list of how the two or more items are similar and different. When necessary the teacher helps the students analyze the topic.


2. Teacher or students draw the venn diagram, if it is not already provided. Then, they label the circles with the names of the topics. There can be pictures drawn if necessary.


3. Students then complete the diagram by writing words/phrases or drawing pictures that represent the differences between the topics. Then they do the same for the middle circle but include things that the topics have in common.


4. Students then summarize the information by sharing out loud to the class/partner, or they write a paragraph about the diagram.


5. Finally, display! Hang them up in the classroom. Students may use them for other activities.

When do I use this?

-Used to compare and contrast topics in literature like, 2 characters, a book versus the video version, a book and its sequel.

-Used to compare and contrast thematic units like, life in the middle ages versus life today. The earth and another planet, different animals, different plants, different civilizations.

-Used to compare AND contrast two or more topics. If a teacher just wants to contrast two topics, they need to have students fill out a T-Chart.

-Can be used for comparing and contrasting things in literacy, history, science, and math! This strategy can be used for any topic.

Your Turn!!

Take out a piece of paper and draw your own Venn Diagram. Compare and contrast these two topics.

Dolphins and Dogs.

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