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By clicking Confirm, you commit to buy this item from the seller if you are the winning bidder. By clicking Confirm, you are committing to buy this item from the seller if you are the winning bidder and have read and agree to the Global Shipping Program terms and conditions - opens in a new window or tab. Your bid is the same as or more than the Buy It Now price.You can save time and money by buying it now. By clicking 1 Click Bid, you commit to buy this item from the seller if you're the winning bidder. LEARN NC is evaluating its role in the current online education environment as it relates directly to the mission of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education (UNC-CH SOE). Higher order thinking with Venn diagramsGraphic organizers are powerful ways to help students understand complex ideas.
I originally developed this article as a presentation for the 2006 conferences of the North Carolina Middle School Association conference and the North Carolina Association for Educational Communications & Technology.
Blank 4-set Edwards-Venn diagram You can use this PDF file as a template.What is a Venn Diagram? Teachers know that graphic organizers are powerful ways to help students understand complex ideas. In this diagram we have two circles, each representing one thing or kind of thing — in this case whales and fish. But not everybody enjoys Hardy as much as I do, so we’ll just stick with animals for now. I’m going to call this kind of diagram a comparison diagram because, obviously, we’re using it to compare two things. As it turns out, it’s mathematically impossible to draw four circles, each of which partially overlaps each of the others.
If we want to go beyond two or three fairly similar things and talk about all the animals that live in water, what we’re really doing is classifying things. Here, each of the characteristics of water-dwelling animals has been made into a column header, and each of the animals is listed beneath them. Now each animal is listed only once, and I’ve used an X to mark animals that fit a given category. What you need, in fact, is another kind of Venn diagram, which I’ll call a classification diagram.
On the surface not much has changed, but I want you to stop and think about this a moment because it’s actually very powerful! But now, with the classification diagram, we have categories that we can use again and again. Moreover, while both the comparison diagram and those classification charts we made are closed, either conceptually or visually, this diagram is open.
If all animals that have fins can swim, then in mathematical terms, the set of all animals with fins is a subset of the set of all animals that can swim. Once we’re freed from stock diagrams and start creating our own, we can do all kinds of complex classification.
Of course, there are plenty of animals that breathe air and can’t swim, such as chimpanzees, spiders, and chickadees. When you see the finished diagram, it looks easy and obvious, but it took a lot of thinking to come up with these answers. Earlier, I said we wanted think outside the box, and we expanded our discussion from sea animals to all animals. We could keep adding classifications to our discussion, but it gets progressively more difficult to add circles to our diagram.
The classic Venn diagram, with three circles, was invented by the English philosopher and mathematician John Venn in 1881. The top (blue) rectangle is the top hemisphere of the tennis ball, the left (red) rectangle is the left hemisphere, the green circle is the front of the ball, and the orange dog-bone shape resembles one of the two pieces of the ball’s cover. Interestingly, if you needed a fifth set, you could draw a sort of gear that looked like the dog bone but had four spokes instead of two — and then for a sixth set you could draw one with eight spokes, and so on.
Once you’ve freed yourself from the double bubble chart, Venn-like diagrams can be used for all kinds of purposes. I created the diagrams for this article in Adobe Illustrator, but you don’t need expensive software. Depending on the grade and subject you teach, you’ll be able to use complicated graphic organizers like these in different ways and to varying degrees.
At a basic level, you could do the classification work yourself, make a blank diagram, give it to students with a list of elements, and have them figure out where the elements go. For younger students, you can start them off with double bubble charts for comparison — they’re used to that, and it comes more naturally.


To sum up, here are four rules for using Venn (and Venn-like) diagrams to encourage higher-order thinking in your classroom.
By using circles to represent sets and placing the elements within them, you can classify large numbers of things rather than simply comparing two or three. If you work your way up slowly, students will learn to use graphic organizers not simply to keep track of knowledge they’ve already learned, but to push themselves to think about that knowledge in new ways and to learn more. LEARN NC, a program of the UNC School of Education, finds the most innovative and successful practices in K-12 education and makes them available to the teachers and students of North Carolina - and the world. All data is provided for entertainment purposes only, is subject to change without notice and is provided without warranty of any kind. SIMPLY CONTACT US WITH A BRIEF EXPLAINATION OF WHAT IS WRONG AND WE WILL MAKE A CORRECTED PART AND SHIP IT TO YOU IMMEDIATELY.
You have read and agree to the Global Shipping Program terms and conditions - opens in a new window or tab. Import charges previously quoted are subject to change if you increase you maximum bid amount. Bobby Hobgood helped me develop the content, in particular the ideas for using Venn diagrams in the classroom, and co-presented with me. This article explains how teachers can use concept maps effectively and provides links to tools for creating them online.Is it a duck? Drawings and diagrams engage visual learners; they show relationships, clarify concepts, and facilitate communication.
By adapting and building on the simple double bubble chart, you can diagram classification systems that encourage students to recognize complex relationships between items and characteristics. So, for example, high school English literature: Here’s a diagram comparing character traits of two protagonists from Thomas Hardy novels.
Instead of identifying similarities and differences between two things, we need to establish categories of things, and once we’ve done that, we can place lots of things in them.
Let’s take all of the characteristics of these animals out of the diagram and turn them into a chart.
I’ve listed each animal multiple times, first of all — that’s inconvenient, and hard to read. It’s hard to see connections among the animals — we’ve classified them, but we’ve lost the sense of similarities and differences, haven’t we? When we see these headings running along the top and the left-hand side, and that’s all we’re likely to think about. In fact, each circle is an element and each thing inside the circle is a characteristic of that element.
In the first example (figure 1), we were comparing two animals and recognizing how they’re alike and different.
This diagram, with one circle drawn completely inside the other, makes that relationship clear. And humans, dogs, and ducks, like sea turtles, breathe air and can swim but don’t have fins. I brainstormed and bugged my colleagues, and still couldn’t come up with anything for that last space until a teacher in one of my conference presentations suggested water moccasins. His goal was to find symmetrical figures that were elegant and attractive, and he was never satisfied with his attempts to find figures for mapping four, five, and more sets. Again, the blank space encourages us to think about the relationships among our categories. If all four characteristics are independent of one another, then we should be able to place animals in each of the spaces in our diagram. The first diagram classifies foods based on various standards of healthfulness — low in fat, high in protein, high in fiber, and vegetarian.
But you could reproduce it with felt-tip markers on a roll of butcher paper, hang it on a bulletin board, and use Post-It notes to populate the diagram.
As a demonstration, you could use a diagram on a whiteboard, then let students work on their own diagrams in groups. You could make a diagram and print it off as a study guide — the British Isles diagram (figure 19), for example, would be a good study guide for a geography or history class. Give them a blank unlabeled diagram with a list of sets and elements (or a blank drawing on a whiteboard and a pile of Post-It notes or index cards) and let them figure out which set is which and where the labels go. If you’re discussing characteristics of literary heroes in a high school English course, for example, start by comparing a couple of heroes (as we did in figure 2).
By drawing custom diagrams for each topic, you can correctly represent relationships among sets or characteristics. That keeps the discussion within reasonable bounds, and makes a place for everything in it. If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable.
IN A FEW CASES WE REQUIRE THAT YOU RETURN THE DEFECTIVE DECAL FOR OUR INSPECTION, HOWEVER THIS IS RARE AND IS AT OUR DISCRETION. This article points out that many of the diagrams I've used are actually Euler diagrams, not true Venn diagrams.


Images and other media may be licensed separately; see captions for more information and read the fine print. As we can see, shrimp are very different from both whales and fish, and they don’t seem to have much in common at all with whales. I can see very quickly which animals share a particular characteristic, such as breathing air, but I’d like to be able to see at a glance all of the characteristics of a particular animal, as well. We have a way of understanding zoological concepts, not just comparing two individual species! We’re not just describing a particular animal but trying to think globally about animals — what kinds of characteristics go together naturally?
That is, can I fill up all the spaces, and do all water-dwelling animals fit on my diagram? And water moccasins (cottonmouths) breathe air and can swim, but have neither legs nor fins. We need to include them, because having animals that don’t fit helps us to understand our classification system and its limits. If we added rocks or clipboards or bagged salad mixes to our diagram, it would just get silly.
But a hundred years later, Anthony Edwards, a statistician, geneticist, and evolutionary biologist at Cambridge University, thought of a way to do it. Most of the characteristics I thought of seemed to be dependent on others or exclusive of others. This is an especially good activity if the sets in your diagram aren’t independent, like our complex animals diagram in figure 11. Have students identify the most important characteristics, then draw a diagram to represent those characteristics and place all the characters you’ve studied in the diagram.
Since we have no control over the shipping carrier (USPS, FED EX, UPS or other) we cannot accept responsibility for shipping delays. While we are moving away from a focus on publishing, we know it’s important that educators have access to these kinds of resources. All Venn diagrams share this basic structure: They are composed of overlapping circles (or other shapes) with words written in them.
And maybe the words we used to describe those two animals won’t work to describe the new animals. Without them, we might think that all animals fit into those circles, or that oysters and sea anemones somehow aren’t animals. The problem is that until we draw a blank diagram and start trying to fill it up, it’s hard to know where the empty spaces are and how we might draw the diagram to eliminate them.
Since one set is a subset of another, the circles aren’t interchangeable as they are in a simple Venn diagram.
But, as we’ll see, they can get much more complicated, and they can be used for different purposes.
You’ve probably heard these terms before and they’re fairly intuitive, but we don’t use the formal language very often.
Or, to take my serious literary example, when you read two more novels, you’ll have to compare the heroes separately. But, as I said earlier, we can’t draw a diagram with four circles, each of which partially overlaps each of the others.
To get kids out of their seats, use string, colored masking tape, or hula hoops on the floor. You can walk them through the process of creating the diagram just as I made the animal diagram in this article progressively more complex.
That said, we’re directing our resources into our newest efforts, so we won’t be adding to the archive or updating its contents. So our graphic organizer is helping us to understand similarities and differences among animals that have one key trait in common.
And while you don’t have to use the formal language with your students, it will be easier for the moment if we use those terms.
The process of answering those questions, in any case, is as interesting as the answers themselves — they lead to discussion of differences and similarities among mammals and fish and reptiles, body structures, convergent adaptation, and so on.
For example, if you’re talking about animals in a given biome, give students the challenge of coming up with their own classification system — what categories are most important to your discussion? This means that as the North Carolina Standard Course of Study changes in the future, we won’t be re-aligning resources. Our full-text and tag searches should make it possible for you to find exactly what you need, regardless of standards alignment. In table 2, above, each column header is a set, and the headings along the left are elements. Something like this makes a good group activity; let them debate it internally, then present their solutions to the class and then talk about which diagrams are more useful in different ways.



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