Introduction to Venn Diagrams

Early Years (Age 3 – 6)

Curriculum Goal

Kindergarten: Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviour

  • Collect, organize, display, and interpret data to solve problems and to communicate information, and explore the concept of probability in everyday contexts (#19).


  • Students and teacher will be sitting on the carpet in a circle. 
  • Students should be confident in sorting by one attribute.


  • 2 different coloured hula hoops (this activity can also be done with 3 or 4 hula hoops once students are confident)
  • An array of materials that consist of 2 distinct sorting characteristics (i.e. shape, size, kind, and colour)


  • Place two hula hoops flat on the ground (i.e. not overlapping) and inform students that they will be sorting items based on two characteristics. 
  • Ask students, What do you want each hoop to represent? (e.g. the yellow hoop = yellow shapes, green hoop = 3-sided shapes). 
  • Once sorting characteristics have been decide, have students select objects from a container with a range of sorting attributes (e.g. animal figurines of different shape, size, kind, and colour) and place them into the appropriate hoop. If students place their object incorrectly, leave it.
  • When a student selects an object that could be placed in both hoops, give students the opportunity to ponder. Some students may express that the object should be placed in between hoops. Ask students, How can we move the hoops so that the object can be a part of both groups?
    • Students may suggest that the hoops be overlapped. If not, hint at the idea. ​
  • Tell students that objects that cannot be classified into one or both hoops can be disregarded and placed to the side.
  • When all objects have been assigned to a hoop, ask, Have all objects been sorted appropriately?

Look Fors

  • Do children understand the idea that one object can be sorted by multiple attributes?​
  • Can children explain their sorting decisions?​
  • What techniques do children use when sorting? Can they easily sort by more than one colour?

Related Lessons

Foster an understanding that an object can be sorted by more than one characteristic.

Prior to Introduction to Venn Diagrams, practice sorting materials and describe the characteristics used to divide materials into groups.

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