The Venn diagram is simple, straightforward, and has been around for a long time. Maybe that's why I have been bypassing it for other strategies to develop critical thinking. Recently, though, the power of the Venn struck me again and I'll be using it more often as the powerful, engaging, critical-thinking tool that it is.
Our science state standards ask students to compare the characteristics of various ecosystems. I wanted students to collaborate, research the ecosystems, and make a display, all within two to three class periods. I decided to have students make their display using a Venn diagram.
I was really pleased with the outcome. I put students in groups of three. They did their research while we were in the computer lab, but to be honest, they had a head start because we had been studying ecosystems. Their research became more focused with this activity. I made a model display myself to demonstrate different components of a good display, such as strong content, clear handwriting, titles and labels, and even borders. I had students make a rough draft, then gave them a piece of bulletin board paper for their final product. You can see their results here.
Here's to the power of the Venn!
Venn Diagram Power!