Super Sorter! - Multiple Attribute Sorting with a Venn Diagram

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Students will be able to sort items with multiple attributes by using a Venn Diagram.

Big Idea

Understanding multiple attributes is an important mathematical process. The students use their knowledge of Venn Diagrams in this lesson to gain more knowledge about this concept.


5 minutes

For this part of the lesson, you will need, Organizing Olive-The Super Sorter, included as a PDF.  I laminate the pages for durability and bind it with a comb binding machine.  Book rings would also work well. You will need to cut out pieces and apply Velcro to them as per the instructions on the last page of the file.  This will allow the book to be interactive.  

I gather the students around my chair and I ask them if they know what it means to be "organized"  I solicit answers and we have a discussion about organization.  I tell them, Today, I am going to introduce you to a friend of mine who is very organized.  Her name is Olive.  We are going to learn all about her in this story, "Organizing Olive-The Super Sorter".

Page 1:  "This is Olive.  She likes to organize things.  She sorts them into groups."  I see that she has a box full of shoes and a box full of Legos.  She must have sorted items into these boxes.

Page 2:  Olive has a problem.  Sometimes the things she sorts belong in more than one box.  I see she has a pink stuffed animals.  Her boxes say "Pink Things" and "Stuffed Animals".  Now I know what the problem is.  This item is pink and it is a stuffed animal.  It could go in either box. 

Page 3:  Then Olive got an idea.  I read the text in the speech bubble:   What if I made a special box that would have a spot for things that belong in both boxes?

Page 4:  So Olive made special round boxes.  The circles crossed over in the middle.

Page 5:  When you open the boxes, they look like this:  This box looks like something I have seen before.  What does it look like?  You're right!  They look like a Venn Diagram.

Page 6:   Can you help Olive find the correct sport for the bunny?  I invite a student to come up and place the bunny in the correct spot.  The bunny is pink and it is a stuffed animal so it need to go into the center of Olive's special box.  

Page 7: Let’s try organizing these items with Olive.  The signs says round toys and orange toys.  Let's see if we can figure out where each of these items go.  That's right.  We discuss why each toy is placed where it is.

Page 8:  Here are some more items to organize.  It says food and round things.  I again invite students to come up and place the items in the correct spots on the Venn Diagram, explaining to the class why they placed them where they did. 

Page 9:  Olive is really organized….maybe a little TOO organized!   There is no such thing as too organized.  Now get me those puppies!  Oh no!  What do you think Olive is going to do with those puppies. 

We then move over to the SMARTBoard for the instruction portion of the lesson.


15 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, I use my SMARTBoard.  If you have a SMARTBoard, the file can easily be downloaded and opened.  If you have a different type of interactive whiteboard, you can still use this lesson by opening the file in Smart Notebook Express.  There is also a PDF of the slides so you can recreate this part of the lesson.

I gather my students in front of the Smartboard.  I have cards with each student's name printed on.  These cards are used for selecting who will come up to the SMARTBoard.

Again, the lesson is similar to the previous day.  I want to continue to expand upon the students' introductory knowledge of graphs.

I open the first slide (SMARTBoard Slide 1) with the lesson objective written in "student friendly" terms.  There is a content objective and a language objective to help focus on vocabulary expansion for my English Learners (ELs) to be congruent with SIOP instructional techniques. I read these objectives aloud for my students.

Content Objective
I can use a Venn Diagram to sort objects.

Language Objective
I can tell a friend how to sort objects using a Venn diagram.

Slide 2: We have used a Venn Diagram to record information (data) about a survey we have done.  I discuss with the students what information we can gain from the Venn Diagram.

Slide 3:  We can also use a Venn Diagram to sort and organize things.  We are going to sort these objects into triangles and red shapes.  If I have something that is a triangle AND red, where am I going to put it?  That's right it goes in the middle.  I invite students to come up to the board and sort the objects, assisting as needed.  When they are done, we count and record the number of shapes in each section of the Venn Diagram.

Slide 4:  Now let's try this one.  We will sort circles and red shapes.  Again, I call students up to the Smartboard to sort the shapes.  As the students sort the shapes we discuss why they placed them where they did.  Again we count the number of shapes and record them.  

Slide 5:   How about this one??  Let's sort squares and small shapes.  Students come up and sort the shapes.  We continue discussing why they sorted them that way and then record how many.

Slide 6:   Now let's try something other than shapes. We are going to try sorting these things into clothes and winter things.  This one may take some more assistance as students come up and sort.  Again the items in each section is totaled.  

Slide 7:  Turn and Talk Time  The students get with their assigned Turn and Talk partner.  My friend sorted these shapes.  Did she do it correctly?  If not, what was her mistake?  I give the students time to discuss with their partner.  After it is obvious that conversation has ended, I bring the group back together.  I repeat the question calling on a student to share what she came up with her partner.  I repeat what the student has said for the entire class.  That's right. The orange circle should be in the center because it is both a circle and orange.

The students then return to their seats for direct instruction.

Guided Practice

10 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, you will need one copy per student of the Sort with a Venn Diagram Guided Practice activity sheet.  You will also need a Dixie cup or other container of counters for each student.  I put the following counters in each cup:

2 red bears

1 blue bear

1 yellow bear

1 green bear

2 red frogs

1 red dinosaur


You could adjust the manipulatives and activity based on what manipulatives you have available. 

After I pass out the activity sheet to the students, I have them write their name on the top.  I have them take a red crayon and color in the box at the top of the worksheet and put their crayon away.  I then pass out the cup of counters to each student.  I have them pour the counters out to the side of their activity sheet.

I tell the students, We are going to sort these counters.  We will sort a few together and then you will finish it on your own.  I see on the Venn Diagram that there is a place for bears.  The other side is for red items.  If I have a bear, it goes on this side.  If I have a red counter it goes on this side.  If it is both, it goes in the middle. So a red bear will go in the center. 

I have the students pick up a red frog.  I say, this is not a bear.  It is a frog.  It goes on the frog side on the diagram.  So I put it in this circle (pointing to correct circle).  Go ahead and put it in the correct circle.  Now take the yellow bear.  Where would that go?  That right.  It would go in the bear circle, but not in the center.  It has to be red to be there. 

I then have the students take a red bear.  Let's figure out where this will go.  It is a bear so it can go in this circle.  It is also red, so it can go in this circle.  So this bear is both, so it goes in the center.

I have the student place the rest of the counters in the Venn Diagram.  I circulate around the room to make sure the students are understanding how to place the counters.  As they complete the activity, I check their work before they remove the counters from their sheet.

When they are done, we clean up and prepare for independent practice.

Independent Practice and Informal Assessment

10 minutes

For this part of the lesson, you will need the Sort with the Venn Diagram Independent Practice activity sheet.  You will need page one for each student and page two can be cut in half, giving each student half a page.  Students will need scissors and glue sticks to complete the activity.

I pass out the sheets to the students and tell them that we are going to practice sorting with our Venn Diagram.  You are going to cut the pictures out from this activity and sort them.  The things that are summer things will go and in this circle and the things that are clothes will go in this circle.  If it is clothes we will wear in the summer, it goes in both circles.  Before you glue your items down, please raise your hand and I will come check your work.

I circulate around the room, checking the students work to see if they are understanding the concept.  Many students sort the items with ease while others find it more challenging and need lots of support in completing the activity.  We correct any mistakes before the students glue the pieces down.  When they are all done, the students place their competed work in their mailboxes.