How to Find the Surface Area of a Right Prism

How to Find the Surface Area of a Right Prism
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  • 0:00 What Is Surface Area?
  • 0:43 What Is A Right Prism?
  • 1:39 Surface Area Of A Right Prism
  • 3:03 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kadoria Burgess

I have a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and Spanish. I have taught for 5 years in bilingual classrooms of various elementary grade levels.

Will it fit? Is there enough room? These questions involve the amount of area an object needs. In this lesson, you will learn how to find the surface area of a special solid figure called a right prism.

What Is Surface Area?

Say you just purchased a brand new aquarium as a gift for your best friend. You take it home only to realize you only have 4 square feet of wrapping paper. Oh no! How do you know if that's enough wrapping paper? That's easy - just find the surface area!

The surface area is the total area of a 3D object when you add together the areas of all the sides. It will tell you the amount of space that an object or solid figure will take up all around. The key to finding the surface area is to know all of the shapes that make up the object. Then, you can measure the sides of the shapes to find your surface area.

What Is a Right Prism?

So, what shapes make up your aquarium? You may have guessed that it's a right prism. A right prism is made up of two identical, parallel bases on the ends, and the faces are perpendicular to the bases. The standard aquarium is a right prism because it has two square bases on the ends, and it has four rectangular faces that are perpendicular to the two bases.

An aquarium is an example of a right prism.
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It's important to remember that right prisms have no curves. Also, there are various types of right prisms. Rectangular prisms, pentagonal prisms, hexagonal prisms, and right triangular prisms are just a few examples of right prisms. The formula for finding the surface area is the same for all right prisms and is:

Surface area = 2B + hP. In this formula, B is the area of one of the bases, while h is the prism's height, and P is the perimeter of the base.

Finding Surface Area of a Right Prism

Now, let's explore how to find the surface area of our right rectangular prism--our aquarium.

The measurements for our aquarium
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Let's follow these steps to find the surface area of your aquarium using the formula 2B + hP:

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