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What Does a Prism Shape Look Like?

Imagine any quadrilateral. It’s totally flat, and you can think of it like a piece of paper. But if you imagine taking the figure out from the piece of paper, so that it gets walls, you will get a box. A box is decidedly not flat.

Square and cube

When you pull quadrilaterals out of a piece of paper and get a box, you call the shape a prism. All polygons that are pulled out like this form prisms. Below you can see some more examples: a triangular prism, a pentagonal prism and a hexagonal prism.

Triangle, pyramide, pentagon, pentagonal prism, hexagon and hexagonal prism

Think About This

With paper, scissors and tape you can try to make the prisms above. Can you find your own prisms and build them as well?

The bases—the top and bottom surfaces—of a prism are always identical. If you have a square as your top face, you will have a square as the bottom face as well.

Example of different types of prisms

Think About This

Look around at home. Can you find any objects that are shaped like a prism?

Remember that the objects may have any polygon as its bases.

Examples of different prisms include a TV, a book, and your outdoor garbage bins.

Do you have any prisms at home that do not have a square top and base? What about your unsharpened pencil?

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How to Find Surface Area and Volume of a Prism