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Cones Lesson for Kids: Definition & Properties

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  • 0:03 What Is a Cone?
  • 0:32 Properties of a Cone
  • 1:02 Comparing Cones to…
  • 2:04 Everyday Examples of Cones
  • 2:31 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Nicole Huppenthal

Nicole has taught at both the elementary and high school levels, specializing in gifted education, elementary education, and technology.

This lesson introduces you to a type of 3-dimensional figure: the cone. We'll learn to identify cones in everyday life, and we'll explore the specific attributes that make cones unique from other 3-dimensional shapes.

What Is a Cone?

If you're like most kids, you know of a cone as the thing you put ice cream in, but it's so much more than just part of a tasty treat. A cone is a geometric shape that's 3-dimensional and has a circular base that narrows to a point at the other end. When we say that it's 3-dimensional, we mean that it has length, width, and height. It's not a flat shape that you can draw on paper. Rather, it's something that you can pick up and hold in your hand.

Cones

Properties of a Cone

As we can see in the image, a cone has only one face (or flat side, also called a base), and that face is circular. The sides of the cone are curved and roll up to a point at the top. When we talk about 3-dimensional shapes, we call this point a vertex.

The width of the cone is the distance across its circular base, which is called diameter, since we're working with a circle. The length is the same thing as the width. The height of the cone is the distance from the base to the vertex.

Comparing Cones to Other Figures

3D Figures

In order to see what really makes a cone different from other figures, we can compare properties. One difference to note is the number of faces each has. Unlike the rest of the figures that have several flat sides, cones only have one face. Cylinder faces, like cone faces, are circular. However, a cylinder has two faces, while a cone has only one.

Cones also only have one vertex, which looks similar to the vertex at the top of the pyramid (even though pyramids have other vertices at the base). These properties make the cone different than all of the other figures, because no other figure has precisely one face and one vertex.

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