Wednesday, 12 September 2012

What on earth would I use a Venn Diagram for?

We recently had a request to include some visual organisers and simple graphing tools. We aim to please at LMA, so if you have an idea, please feel free to let us know.


So here is our latest App Teaching Graphs.

I feel myself rolling my eyes when I hear the term Venn Diagram. Pointless right? Who really cares if Sue likes Bananas and Apples, but not Oranges! What point does this have in the real world?

A lot actually. Reading and Interpreting graphs and graphics has become more important than ever. Increasingly, we are given these types of presentations to persuade us.  We need to be aware of how to read and create these diagrams and graphs in order to become aware of what actual data is being presented (or misrepresented).

Venn diagrams help us to organise information and make links between similarities and differences of a particular set (or traits) We do need to start with 'eats bananas and apples...' but then use these charts to move onto more complex (and meaningful) data sets to compare and contrast such as  animal diet or habitat e.g. eats meat, eats leaves.

Carroll diagrams work in a similar way (I really prefer Carroll diagrams to Venn diagrams as a learner myself) It is basically a YES / NO chart. Basically you put the object in 'the right box' to match all of the criteria. My favourite for this was 'lays eggs' or 'live born' during a unit on life cycles. (Love the fact that some sharks lay eggs...)

The rest of the App is about numerical data sets and graphs,  making them, reading and interpreting them. NOOOOOOO Voice overs (seems we are always getting requests for voice overs... which in our next app we have included but it seemed silly to voice over here because the student will have to re-read to pick out key phrases anyway...)

In my teacher mode I really wanted students to make the graphs on a computer (and by hand) but using Spreadsheet programs meant I had to teach cell references and how to change colours and fonts. You can make any graph look pretty or over-do something (often with inappropriate use of Word Art or too many colours... I can feel my loathing rising) ... I was just interested in the graph part...especially Pie Charts Below is my spiel from the website...

Pie chart maker

Pie chart creation can be difficult without the assistance of IT devices as young children aren't able to understand the mathematics behind its creation (angles, using a protractor,) Students are able to create their pie chart by inputting data sets, change the colour and value for each slice. Great introduction to percentages for more advanced backwards and complete the task on the App and (oh my goodness, yes, I'll say it...) by HAND!
If you are doing this by hand, my personal favourite way of introducing percentages is to have students collect 100 hama beads or other small beads onto floristry wire, put all of the same colours together, tie off to make a loop, then bend into a circle. Use a white kinder circle (or cut one out the same size as the wire circle) Then mark the mid point of the circle, put the wire circle of beads on the top of the paper circle and then mark where each colour starts and stops. Use a ruler to join to the centre of the circle and colour in to match. Voila! A pie chart. Then you can go on to teach that each bead is worth 1%. You might like to get fancy and only collect 50 beads and discuss how each bead is now worth 2%. You could do this with people too. Put all the students who match a criterion together, move the whole group into a circle and sit down (or stand if you want), use string or streamers, or plastic tablecloths if you want a solid colour to show the slice!

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