Types of Diagrams

Diagrams are graphic organizers used to organize information and present ideas visually. They can be used by instructors while teaching or by students while taking notes or completing assignments. Diagrams are versatile learning strategies that can be incorporated into lessons across disciplines and grade levels, and they often help students who are visual learners. Students can use diagrams to structure writing projects, make decisions, solve problems, study, brainstorm or plan a project.

1 Venn Diagram

The Venn diagram is used for comparing and contrasting two concepts. Two circles overlap, creating an inner oval space. There are three areas for writing or drawing: left, right and center, where the two circles overlap. Typically the left and right sides are labeled to specify the ideas being compared. For example, students could use a Venn diagram in science to compare plants and animals. On the animals side, students would enter information that is true only of animals. On the plant side, students would enter information that is only true for plants. In the center, students would enter information that is common to both, such as "grows" or "needs water to live." This type of diagram is often used in elementary grades to help children compare ideas visually.

2 Web Diagram

Web diagrams are created using boxes or bubbles. One central idea is written inside a center box. Stems are drawn outward from this center box with new boxes attached. The new boxes house ideas that are related to the central idea. A teacher could use a web diagram in early elementary grades like first and second to present ideas. Web diagrams are effective for introducing lessons. For instance, if a class is about to begin a unit on dinosaurs, a teacher could write "dinosaurs" in the center of the web. She could then invite students to add to the chart by saying something they know about dinosaurs. A new bubble could say "large size" or "lived long ago."

3 Flowchart

Flowcharts are used to show the progression of something. These types of diagrams are often used to depict a process. Steps are written inside boxes with arrows connecting them. The chart flows in a specific order. A flowchart could be used in an English literature class to show plot. The sequence of events would be broken down and listed in simple sentences or phrases connected by arrows. A flowchart could also be used to show a math process or to document the steps in a science experiment.

4 Drawing or Map

Drawings and maps are models that represent something. Effective drawings and maps are clear and easy to understand and usually include labels to explain what is being shown. In science, a drawing of the skeleton could be labeled with the names of each bone or joint. Young children might use a map to create a diagram of their classroom or neighborhood, labeling each area or important landmark. In math, drawings and diagrams are often labeled with numbers to represent information such as length or volume.

Rachel Pancare taught elementary school for seven years before moving into the K-12 publishing industry. Pancare holds a Master of Science in childhood education from Bank Street College and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Skidmore College.