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What is a Polyhedron? - Characteristics & Examples

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  • 0:00 Polyhedrons
  • 0:55 Identifying Characteristic
  • 1:38 Examples
  • 2:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

After watching this video lesson, you will be able to identify a polyhedron when you see one. You will also be able to tell your friends what the distinguishing identifying factor of a polyhedron is.

Polyhedrons

In this lesson, you will see what polyhedrons are. Why is it important to learn about polyhedrons? It is good to learn about polyhedrons because these shapes play an important part in more complex math problems.

In math, we define a polyhedron as a solid with flat faces. What does this mean? When you see or hear the word 'solid,' it refers to a shape that is 3-dimensional. When a shape is 3-dimensional, it means that it has space inside of it. It is not a flat object that you draw on a flat piece of paper. In other words, 3-dimensional solids are things that you can hold. Your computer is a 3-dimensional solid, as is your television and your teddy bear. But not all of these things are polyhedrons.

There are actually quite a few things around you that are polyhedrons if you look at them carefully. How can you find these polyhedrons?

Identifying Characteristic

You can identify polyhedrons by their identifying characteristic. So, what is this characteristic? It is that these solids all have flat faces. They don't have curved faces. The word 'faces' refers to the sides of the solid. So if all the sides of the solid are flat, then it is a polyhedron. But if the solid has any curved sides at all, then it is not a polyhedron.

So, your teddy bear is not a polyhedron. If your television has a curved screen, then it is not a polyhedron. But if your television has all flat sides, then it is a polyhedron. The same goes for your computer; if all the sides are flat, then it is a polyhedron.

Examples

There are many other examples of polyhedrons in the world around you. Here are some other examples.

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