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Cylinder Lesson for Kids: Definition & Facts

Instructor: Allison Petrovic

Allison has experience teaching high school and college mathematics and has a master's degree in mathematics education.

A pop can, a container of Pringles, and a can of delicious soup all have something in common! They are all in the shape of a cylinder! We will learn all about these shapes in this lesson.

More Pringles!

When is the last time you had some Pringles? Yum! My favorite kind of Pringles are the salt and vinegar ones! You may have noticed that the container that Pringles come in looks different than the packages of other potato chips. Other potato chips come in plastic bags that you can just pull open pretty easily! Pringles, on the other hand, come in a tall round container that has a circular plastic lid. The shape of the container that Pringles come in is called a cylinder! Let's learn some neat things about cylinders.

All About Cylinders

A cylinder is a three-dimensional shape in geometry. A cylinder is round and has a top and bottom in the shape of a circle. The top and the bottom are flat and always the same size. I think the best way to describe the shape of a cylinder is to think of a can of soup!

Can of Soup
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Volume of a Cylinder

The volume of a cylinder tells us how much space it has on the inside of it. If you had a can of pop, the volume would be equal to how much pop fills the entire can.

In the formula to find the volume of a cylinder, you will need to know the height and radius of the cylinder. The height is basically how tall it is. The radius is equal to half of the length of the diameter of its circular top or bottom. Remember also that the number pi can be rounded to 3.14.

Volume of a Cylinder
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Surface Area of a Cylinder

The surface area of a cylinder tells us how much space covers the entire surface of the cylinder. If you were to wrap a can of Pringles with wrapping paper for a birthday gift, the amount of wrapping paper that is used would be equal to the surface area of the Pringles can. To find the surface area of a cylinder, you will need to know the height and radius of a cylinder.

Surface Area of Cylinder
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Wrapping Food

Now image that you need to cover a cylindrical piece of cheese with foil. After measuring its dimensions, you figured out that the height is 3 inches and the radius is 1 inch. In order to figure out how much foil you need to cover the entire piece of cheese, you need to calculate the surface area!

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