How to Teach Venn Diagrams in 2nd Grade Math

You can use Venn diagrams to compare and contrast the mathematical concept of shapes.

Venn diagrams are graphic organizers that can help students learn how to classify items according to type. These diagrams use circles to show how two or more subjects are alike and different. You can teach second grade students how to interpret and create math-centered Venn diagrams with a variety of instructional strategies. Using discussion, illustration and practice will help your students to understand how to use Venn diagrams.

Write two subjects (people, objects, places or animals) on the board and lead your students in a discussion about the similarities and differences between these two subjects.

Draw two circles side by side with the edges of the circles overlapping. Label one circle "Chocolate" and the other circle "Vanilla." Label the overlapping area of the circles "Chocolate and Vanilla."

Ask your students to vote for their favorite ice cream flavor through a show of hands. They can only vote once, and they can vote for one of the three categories on the board. Make tally marks in the appropriate circles and have your students count the results at the end of the activity.

Give your students a worksheet with a Venn diagram. Supply a list of shapes on the worksheet. Some of the shapes should have four sides and other shapes should have another number of sides. Some shapes should be blue and some should have no color (outline only). Tell your students to label their circles, "Four Sides" and "Blue." Instruct them to label the overlap, "Four Sides and Blue." Then let the students work on their own or in small groups to figure out where the shapes that you provided fit in the Venn diagram. Discuss the answers once everyone is finished.

Charlotte Johnson is a musician, teacher and writer with a master's degree in education. She has contributed to a variety of websites, specializing in health, education, the arts, home and garden, animals and parenting.