Venn Diagrams (KS2) Explained

Dad helping daughter by explaining venn diagrams KS2 level

The Venn diagram (KS2) is an important and recurring part of a child's education, and so it can be useful for parents to have a good understanding of them to make it easier to teach and guide your kids with their Key Stage 2 Maths education.  

We will take a look at what exactly a Venn diagram is, when to use them, how to read them and the purpose they serve. They are sure to crop up numerous times throughout the Year 5 and Year 6 syllabus, and therefore parents will encounter them in school projects and homework throughout the year, so read on to re-familiarise yourself with the Venn diagram!

Girl figuring out information to go in her venn diagram KS2

What Is A Venn Diagram?

A Venn diagram is a specific method of presenting information by grouping and categorising items into different sections, which is shown in a clear, visual format. Invented by mathematician John Venn in 1880, these graphics typically have two or three circles with overlapping edges.

Each circle has its own 'rule', however. If both rules apply to one item, then it should be placed in where the circles overlap. Primary school Venn diagrams will be much simpler, often with no overlap. This is because teachers will be encouraging children to learn to simply sort items, whether that is an object, description or number. The simple KS1 Venn diagrams that children used in primary school become more complex, with objects or items that do not fit into either 'A' or 'B'.

Two-circle venn diagram; set A goes in the left, set B goes in the right, anything that applies to both goes in the overlap.

In a two-circle Venn diagram, you can sort a given group of data into one of three 'sets'.

The first circle contains Set A, and Set B goes into the second one. Where the two circles overlap is the third group of information (Set C).

The information in Set C is true for both Sets A and B. You could write the data point twice, once in each circle, but it is more efficient to put it into the third space where the two circles overlap.

For example, if Set A is for 'Oranges' and Set B is for 'Apples', there will be some data points that apply  only to oranges or apples, but there will also be some data points that are true for both oranges and apples. Where both rules apply, the data point should be entered into the space where the two circles overlap.

Three-circle venn diagram

The same formula applies whether there are two, three, four or more circles in the Venn diagram. There are many more options and it can look more complex, however, the diagram is always based on the same simple sorting technique.

The Universal Set

The universal set is all the information and the different elements and parts of the Venn diagram. The universal set includes all of the data.

This includes the names, objects or items that need to be sorted, as well as the circles and the space around them. Information that doesn't fit either of the rules should be placed outside of the diagram, as it is important that this data point is still included in the overall picture of the Venn diagram.

There are some great resources online that teachers and parents could search for if they want to help teach Venn diagrams. Simply search any number of online resources and education websites, looking for clear examples that show how these diagrams could be used in real life situations to help present data in a clear, easy to read way.



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