Cubes: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Dina Albert
The world is made up of many different types of shapes. In this lesson, we will focus on the cube and what makes it such a special three-dimensional shape.


Everywhere we go and almost everything we see is made up of two or three-dimensional shapes, like the computer screen where you're reading this lesson or the socks on your feet.

When we talk about dimensions, we're talking about the height, width, or depth of something. For instance, a square drawn on paper has a height and width. Those are its two dimensions. But some things have three dimensions. Let's look at this in more detail.


Two-Dimensional Shapes: So Flat

Two-dimensional shapes are flat, like squares or circles, or the picture on your television. They have height and width (but not depth).

While you can see a 2-D shape, you can't touch it or wrap it. If you try to touch that car on your TV, you'll just hit the plastic screen.

One 2-D shape you already know is a square.

Squares are 2-D because they are flat and have only a height and width. They are special shapes because all of their sides are equal in measurement. The height is the same as the width.

The Third Dimension: Not So Flat

You live in a three-dimensional world. 3-D shapes have height and width (just like 2-D shapes), and they also have a third dimension -depth. A few 3-D shapes you see every day are buildings, boxes, and basketballs.


If you see something and aren't sure if it's 2-D or 3-D, just try to touch it. If you can hold it or feel its rough surface beneath your fingers, like a basketball, it's definitely three-dimensional.

The Cube

The square is a special 2-D object, so let's look at a special 3-D object: the cube. Two cube-shaped objects that you may have seen around you are sugar and dice.

These 3-D sugar cubes and dice are made of 2-D squares.

A square is two-dimensional because it has only a height and width. It turns into a 3-D cube when we give it depth.


A cube is made of 6 squares, or faces. Since all squares have the same height and width, the cube must have a depth that is the same size also. Notice in Picture A that the cube's width, height, and depth are all the same measurement.

A cube also has 12 edges and 8 vertices, or corners.

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