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Venn diagrams

September 10, 2014

Year 9 have the pleasure of a new syllabus for GCSE and there are some changes. The one that matters for this post is that they now expected to learn about Venn diagrams and set notation. I have a middle ability year 9 group and I’m enjoying teaching this and think that’s partly because it’s new to me (teaching it that is). The students seem to be relishing the challenge of it being genuinely difficult and the fact that they know year 10 students won’t know it!

We started with this:

How many regions

And did a little investigating into what happens when you overlap the circle. How many regions can you get and we also defined what counts as a distinct region.

Once I’d defined for them what a Venn diagram was, we used some for classifying items:

Classifying two things

And I showed them these for fun (and a brief nod towards Social and Moral issues):

men venn

pancakes venn


Today, I introduced some official set notation and then let the students try things like this (after a few easier ones first):

Set notation


This was really interesting and I could see students internally wrestling with what f meant.

They were also really interested in how g and h were different.

I mentioned on twitter yesterday that I was enjoying Venn diagrams with my year 9 students and Rob Eastaway (@robeastaway) pointed me towards this topical one:



British Isles

I like it and will show to my class but feel I must point out that this isn’t a Venn diagram, it’s an Euler diagram.


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