Venn Diagram Debates

I was fortunate to attend part of the Boston Debate League’s week-long course on incorporating debate across subject areas this week. They have some wonderful resources, and I wanted to share a debatable idea I was inspired to create “by mistake.”

There was a question we were debating in our math teacher breakout room that said something like: Could one of the headings below be “quadrilaterals”?

My group assumed the blank area on the right contained shapes that had not been revealed to us. So we went about discussing the possible headings based on this assumption. We later learned that this was meant to be a complete diagram with nothing in the right hand area, but nevertheless, I could see fun debate questions coming from incomplete Venn Diagrams. So “by mistake,” I developed a new string of debatable prompts for warm-ups (or other places!).

For instance, for the picture below, I could ask students to debate something like:

One of these groups could be named “Quadrant 2” or

What is the best label for the overlapping area?

Similarly, my middle schoolers could debate a heading I give them (or they create on their own) for a diagram like this:

I’m excited to try out this new set of questions this year!


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