Human Venn Diagrams

'Where do you fit on the giant Venn Diagram?'

Help students get to grips with Venn diagrams by making a giant one with playground chalk, coming up with different ways of classifying themselves and jumping in to it! This can be done quickly with lots of different sets or more slowly with some considered sets and a bit of artistic impression. At the end students can draw themselves in the diagram and invite other students in the school to do the same! This activity aims to bring Venn diagrams to life by exploring issues that students decide and by representing the views of students on the diagram. A Venn diagram is a simple concept that has clear limitations and this activity allows both of these ideas to be explored! 

Aims

I think the oversized playground Venn diagram provides a memorable experience in a way that a page from a book can't. The aim of this activity is to give students ownership over the sets and the diagram so that really think about what they want it to show and what they expect it to show. For example, students may suddenly realise that they want it to include some subsets to give a little more choice but aren't quite sure how to fit them in, so they have to consider and discuss in a way that they wouldn't with someone else's problem.

Syllabus links

New - Section 3.5, Previous - section 3.2 from the syllabus requires and understanding of Venn diagrams, but they permeate all the way through the Sets, Logic and Probability unit and are a fundamental tool.

Description

  1. The idea of a giant playground (or similar) Venn diagram is proposed and students discuss the sets they might use to survey themselves, the number of sets they should use and the relevance of any overlapping there might be between the sets.
  2. Students experiment with their ideas and refine or change them based on the experiment
  3. The diagram is drawn - not as easy as it sounds on a large scale!
  4. Students place themselves in the diagram, physically first and then by some representation
  5. If there is an opportunity, students survey other students in the school and add them to the diagram. If you go for the playground chalk idea, then this can be done during breaks and lunchtimes!
  6. Take some photos for the record and for a little discussion after the rain has washed the chalk away!

I did it my way!

As a practicing maths teacher I know that most of us like to give activities our own little twist and do them 'our way'. It would be great to add a little collect of 'twists' from users. You can either add your twist to the comments section below or e-mail them directly to me at jamesn@inthinking.co.uk In time some of these twists may appear here....

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