Forty Best-practices Instructional Activities

Venn Diagram
Back to
40 Best-practices
Instructional Activities

Background: A Venn diagram is two or more intersecting/overlapping circles that students use to identify similarities and differences between given topics. Characteristics unique to each idea are written in the non-intersecting portions of the circles. Characteristics that apply to the given topics are written in the intersection of the circles.

Procedures: Choose topics for comparison. Create large overlapping circles that provide plenty of writing spaces. Write the topics as headings on each circle. Have students use their knowledge and data from a reading selection to write the similarities and differences between the topics. Use the diagram to help students find patterns and connections.

1. Invite students to compare and contrast different species. How are manatees and dugongs alike and different? How are whooping cranes and Sandhill cranes alike and different? How are monarch and viceroy butterflies alike and different? How are caribou and deer alike and different?
2. Adaptations: Students compare and contrast how different species adapt to environmental factors to meet their survival needs.
3. By Land, By Sea, By Air: How are the migratory journeys of various species alike and different? Ask students to find the similarities and differences of species that fly through the skies, swim in the seas, or roam across land during migration.

1. Create overlapping sections with different shapes, such as rectangles or ovals. These shapes provide additional writing space for detailed charts.
2. Invite students to draw Venn-Style diagrams with pictures specific to the topic. For example, overlapping clouds could be drawn to compare and contrast migratory species that take flight. An outline of a butterfly makes a great Venn diagram. Students write distinctive characteristics about two different kinds of butterflies, such as the monarch and viceroy. They record similarities on the body of the butterfly. This picture graph could also be used to compare butterflies and moths.

Reading Strategies: Compare and Contrast Ideas, Classify Information, Make Connections, Synthesize Ideas, Summarize Main Ideas and Details