Venn Diagram

Curriculum – Data Management and Probability 

For students to sort, classify, and display a variety of concrete objects, collect data, begin to read and describe displays of data, and begin to explore the concept of probability in everyday contexts.


Students and the teacher begin by sitting on the floor in a large circle.


  • 3 hoola hoops of different colours – yellow, green and red
  • Different kinds of leaves or any other sorting material


  • Lay out the three hoola hoops, making sure they do not overlap.
  • Ask “How many hoops do I have? What colour are they?


  • Explain you will be sorting by one characteristic — colour. Ask students which leaves would go in the yellow hoop if they were to sort the leaves. Which go in the green hoop? Which go in the red hoop?
    • Tell students not to worry about other colours, such as brown or black. They need to focus on only the three colours.
  • Begin to hand out the leaves and have children put their leaf in the appropriate hoop.
  • Hand out leaves with two colours on it and ask, “Where does this leaf go? It has both yellow and green on it.”
    • Some kids may put it in between two hoops. Ask, “How could we move the hoops so that the leaf could be both in the yellow and the green hoops?”
  • They should suggest that you overlap the loops. Do as they suggest.


  • Ask the children to double check and make sure each leaf has been put in the appropriate hoop.

Extension Lesson and Activity
Sorting by two characteristics

  • This time use only two hoops and tell the class they will be sorting by two characteristics.
  • Ask students what each hoop should represent. For example, the yellow hoop represents colour and the green hoop represents size.
  • Start with the hoops apart.
  • Have students pick out an object from a mystery box. This box contains different objects that can be sorted by category. For example, animals of different shape, size, kind and colour.
  • Ask students to place the objects in the hoop they believe is correct.
  • When a student picks something that should be in both hoops ask, “how can we move the hoops so that the material is in both groups?”
  • All other material that does not fit into one of those two groups gets put on the outside.
  • When all the material has been taken out of the mystery box ask the children to take a look and make sure all the material has been put in the appropriate place.

Create you own venn diagram

  • Call two to three children at a time and have a variety of different materials available.
    • Example: buttons, shapes with different colours and sizes, beads etc.
  • Have a venn diagram template on a piece of paper (Appendix A).
  • Ask students what material they want to work with and then ask them to choose two different characteristics to sort by (i.e. colours, size, kind)
  • Strategically give students a handful of their chosen material and ask them to sort it by their chosen characteristics.
  • Take a picture once students have finished.

Explaining the venn diagram

  • Paste the picture on a different sheet of paper where students can write, “I sorted by ___________ and ________.” (Appendix B)

*For appendices click here to download the lesson.

Based on Carol Stephenson’s Mathematics Lesson