Using Triple Venn Diagrams in the Classroom

Triple venn diagrams are used to compare and contrast three things. This article will provide you with ideas and activities to use triple venn diagrams in your class.

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Triple venn diagrams are used to compare and contrast three things. This article will provide you with ideas and activities to use triple venn diagrams in your class.

Using triple venn diagrams helps children to compare and contrast, organize, and make connections with new information. This helps students retain information and see the "big picture." Great critical thinking skills emerge!


Using Triple Venns to Organize Information

Triple venn diagrams are graphic organizers. They can serve many purposes in the classroom, such as helping students organize information from a unit of study. They can be used before instruction as a form of pre-assessment. They can be used during instruction for monitoring and feedback. They can be used after instruction for review or assessment.

There seems to be a lack of free triple venn diagram printable activities online, so Lee and I have created several. There is even an interactive triple venn here at FueltheBrain, click here. Your students can use this at the computer math center or whole group with your interactive white board.

But the most fun with triple venns can be with the "stuff" your students bring in to the classroom. I have students save their candy wrappers on Halloween and we graph candy trash on November 1. You can have students create their own categories for sorting-such as orange wrappers, hard candy, sour candy, ...

I teach second grade and students love to collect at that age. When students bring in collections of bouncy balls and shells, we sort and graph using sorting circles.

A great beginning of the year activity is to have students sort their classmates' names. They can sort names by sounds, number of letters, vowels, syllables, endings, blends, etc.


Sort and Graph

Materials to be sorted into the triple diagram
At first, you can write set titles (classifications) for the items. It won't take long before the kiddos will be ready to write their own set titles. Teaching children how to sort and classify is an important skill. To get you started...

Zoo animals: could be sorted by animal families, colors, type of skin covering (fur, feathers, etc.), or natural habitat (desert, ocean, etc.)

Seashells: color, type of shell, shape

Buttons: number of holes, color, shape

Ocean Critters: animal family or color


Graphing Station

Turning the Triple Venn Diagram into a Math Station or Center

I prep the math center with sorting circles, index cards and markers (for the labels), and the objects to be sorted and graphed. If you want students to transfer, you can provide them with a blank triple venn template; click here for template. After students sort, have them write three things they know by using the graph.

It's also fun to sort letters, numbers, and words. Students can sort letters by straight lines, curved lines, etc. Numbers can be sorted by even/odd, multiples of ____, single digit/two-digit/etc. Words can be sorted by syllables, number of letters, vowels, etc.

I save old birthday and Christmas cards. Kids come up with creative ways to classify!



One of my favorite activities is the Venn Diagram Interactive. Are your students not ready for triple venns yet? You can start with double venns and then move to triple venns. You can load a pre-made triple venn or create your own.

You type students' initials and a bubble for each student is created. Students can click and drag their bubble to the appropriate place in the triple venn. This makes a great computer station or interactive math lesson on your SMART board.

There are also a variety of printable triple venns. Let us know if you have triple venn ideas you want us to create!