Geometric Shapes in Nature

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  • 0:04 Shapes
  • 0:56 Inside the House
  • 1:35 Outside the House
  • 2:45 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mark Boster
When you look around, you see many shapes and designs, both human-made and natural. There are geometric shapes seemingly everywhere you look! Did you know that many circles, cubes, stars, and squares occur naturally by design? Find out more in this lesson.


Kara was outside looking up at the clouds. Have you ever done that? Do you see interesting things? Kara saw a sheep, a clown, and a cow with a hat! It is fun to find pictures in the clouds, but did you know that you can find geometric shapes in nature, too?

You may remember that there are two different types of geometrical shapes. Plane Geometry deals with the geometric shapes that are flat. Spatial geometry deals with the geometric shapes that take up space, 3-D objects.

In geometry, there are many plane shapes such as squares, circles, triangles, stars, and many others. There are also spatial shapes like prisms, rectangular prisms, cylinders, and pyramids. You can find these same shapes occurring in nature - not created by people, just out there in nature. Look for some the next time you go outside. Sometimes they're even inside your house!

Inside the House

Okay, if you have these foods in the house, gather them together: an apple, orange, banana, and papaya. Take the apple and have an adult cut it across the middle - not from the top but horizontally across at the fattest part of the apple. What do you see? The geometric shape of a star.

What shape is the orange? It's a sphere: a circle that is like a blown-up ball. Slice the banana like you were going to put it on your cereal. What shapes are those? Circles. If you cut the papaya in half, you will have a star inside a circle.

Just think, and all this in the food you may eat. Look for shapes in other foods as you eat them.

Outside the House

No matter where you live, either in hot or cold climates, you can find geometric shapes outside, too. When you go out next time, take an adult and see if you can find something that is a sphere, oval, star, circle, cylinder, or another shape.

Here are some examples of things that you may find to help get you started:

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