Dodecahedron: Patterns & Properties

Instructor: Rayna Cummings

Rayna has taught Elementary Education for 12 years (in both 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades) and holds a M.Ed in Early Childhood Education from The Ohio State University

This lesson is all about dodecahedrons! Did you know that you can create your own dodecahedron at home? So, what is a dodecahedron?! Now, let's go have some fun and learn about this new math term!

The Game of Yahtzee!

Before we jump into learning about dodecahedrons, we really need to talk about polyhedrons first! So what is a polyhedron? A polyhedron is a 3-D shape with flat surfaces! Think about the dice that you use to play Yahtzee. Yes, those dice are examples of polyhedrons! Each die has 6 faces. A face is just another way of saying a flat surface. So each face on a die has a specific amount of black dots, ranging from one dot to six dots.

What is a Dodecahedron?

A dodecahedron is a special type of polyhedron. A dodecahedron is a polyhedron that has 12 faces. So if you were to count the number of flat surfaces on this shape in the picture, you would count exactly 12 of them! Go ahead and try!

A Dodecahedron

Everyday Objects as Dodecahedrons

Now, try to think of an everyday object that is shaped like a dodecahedron. It is hard to think of one, right? That is because dodecahedrons are not very common. Well, if you have ever played a game that uses 12-sided dice, then you have seen a dodecahedron! Ever hear of the tabletop game called Battleball? Sounds fun! Well, this game uses a die that has 12 faces, which is a dodecahedron!

12-Sided Die

Properties of Dodecahedrons

Every shape has properties, or characteristics. Think about a square. How would you describe this shape to a friend? Well, a square has 4 sides and 4 corners. Right? Now think about a cube. This 3-D shape has 6 faces, 8 vertices (corners) and 12 edges (sides where the faces meet). Now, how would you describe a dodecahedron to a friend? This shape is a bit more complex. Well, each dodecahedron has the following:

  • 12 equal pentagonal faces
  • 20 vertices
  • 30 edges

What is a pentagonal face? Well, if you look closely at any face of a dodecahedron, you will see that it has the shape of a pentagon. A pentagon is a 2-dimensional shape with 5 straight sides and 5 vertices. So, a dodecahedron has 12 of these flat, equal pentagonal faces.

A Pentagon

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