3D Shape Names in English (Beginner Friendly)

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3-D shapes are a part of geometry. They can be created from two-dimensional shapes by rotating them in three dimensions.

The most common 3D shape example is the cube, which we will learn more about in a moment. Other more complex shapes include pyramids, cones, spheres and cylinders, among others.

Whether you have a child in Primary school or just want to brush up your knowledge of different shape names, here is a useful guide to answer the basic questions about 3-D shapes.

What is a 3-D Shape?

3-D is short for three-dimensional. A 3-D shape is a geometric figure which has height, width and depth.

Examples of 3-D shapes in the world around us include a piece of paper, a desk or a bookcase. These all have height, width and depth.

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Properties of 3-D Shapes

Some properties that 3D shapes have in common:

They Have Three Dimensions

Length, which is a measure of the distance on the longer side of an object (how long something is).

Width, also called breath, which is a measure of the distance on the shorter side of an object (how wide something is).

Height, also called depth, which is how much space it takes up in the vertical direction (from the bottom of something to the top of something).

They Have a Face, Edge and Vertex

Faces (sides) are the flat or curved areas of the shapes. For example, a cube has six faces.

Edges are formed where the faces meet. For example, a cube has twelve edges.

Vertices (corners) are the corners where the edges meet. The singular form of vertices is vertex. For example, a cube has eight vertices.

Common 3-D Shape Names

To learn more about each shape, we have included the number of corners (vertices), edges and faces each shape has.

Sphere

The sphere has one curved surface.

  • Corners: 0
  • Edges: 0
  • Face: 1

Hemisphere

The hemisphere has one curved surface, one flat face, and an edge.

  • Corners: 0
  • Edges: 1
  • Faces: 2

Cube

A cube has six faces, twelve edges and eight corners. All the sides of the cube are equal in length.

  • Corners: 8
  • Edges: 12
  • Faces: 6

Cuboid

A cuboid also has six faces, twelve edges and eight corners. The sides are not equal in length. A cuboid is also known as a rectangular prism.

  • Corners: 8
  • Edges: 12
  • Faces: 6

Cone

The cone has a curved surface, a flat base, one edge and one corner. The pointed tip of the cone is known as the apex.

  • Corners: 1
  • Edges: 1
  • Faces: 2

Cylinder

The cylinder has one curved area, two faces and two edges. The two ends of the cylinder can be circular or oval.

  • Corners: 0
  • Edges: 2
  • Faces: 3

Triangular Prism

A triangular prism has five faces, nine edges and six corners.

  • Corners: 6
  • Edges: 9
  • Faces: 5

Pentagonal Prism

A pentagonal prism has seven faces, fifteen edges and ten corners.

  • Corners: 10
  • Edges: 15
  • Faces: 7

Hexagonal Prism

A hexagonal prism has eight faces, eighteen edges and twelve corners.

  • Corners: 12
  • Edges: 18
  • Faces: 8

Square-Based Pyramid

The square-based pyramid (or pyramid) has five faces, five corners and eight edges.

  • Corners: 5
  • Edges: 8
  • Faces: 5

Tetrahedron

The tetrahedron (also known as the triangular-based pyramid) has four faces, four corners and eight edges.

  • Corners: 4
  • Edges: 8
  • Faces: 4

Polyhedron

The polyhedron has five faces, five corners and eight edges.

  • Corners: 5
  • Edges: 8
  • Faces: 5

Real-Life Examples of 3D Shapes

Examples of Everyday Shapes

Most 3-D shapes are found in the world around us. Many of these come from nature, while many others are designed by humans for specific uses.

One shape that you might use every day is a box or cuboid, which can be very useful if you want to take things with you in your car or on the bus. You might also add ice-cubes to your drinks in summer.

Other examples include a cone which you may find on the street, pyramid-rooftop buildings and cylinders which you could find in both industrial and agricultural industries.

Finally, another shape you are probably familiar with is the sphere—another 3-D shape that you can find easily in your local supermarket or park. More examples of this are balls, planets, suns and stars just to name a few.

What is the difference between 2D and 3D shapes?

2-D Shapes are two-dimensional (length and width), whereas 3-D shapes are three-dimensional (length and width and height). For example, a circle is a 2-D shape while a sphere is a 3-D shape.

3-D shapes have three coordinates on the axis, usually labelled as x,y and z. Two-dimensional shapes do not have any third axis, just the x and y-axis.

The Volume of a 3D Shape

Simple 3-D shapes such as the cube and the cuboid have one property that we know already: length, width and depth. This will find you the volume of the 3-D shape.

To find the volume of an object such as your book or lunchbox, you must multiply its height x width x depth. This is because the equation for rectangular solids is lwh where ‘l’ is length, ‘w’ is width and ‘h’ is height.

However, most other shapes do not have this simple equation: if you think about a sphere, for example, it has a completely different surface area and volume. The volume can be found following an equation: four thirds x pi x the radius cubed.

How to get the volume of other 3-D shapes can be found here.

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In Conclusion

This post has attempted to answer the question of what 3-D shapes are. Some examples that you might see around you every day have also been given.

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I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain and online. I love learning new things about the English language and how to teach it better. I'm always trying to improve my knowledge, so I can better meet the needs of others! I enjoy traveling, nature walks, and soaking up a new culture. I also like a good Guinness! Please share this post if you find it helpful; I really appreciate it. Thank you!

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