Overview of Three-dimensional Shapes in Geometry

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  • 0:02 Three-Dimensional Shapes
  • 0:32 Rectangular Prisms
  • 1:17 Cubes
  • 1:44 Cylinders
  • 2:09 Spheres
  • 2:37 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

We are surrounded by three-dimensional shapes. Watch this video lesson to see what some three-dimensional shapes look like, such as a cube, a sphere, a brick, and a cylinder.

Three-Dimensional Shapes

We are surrounded by three-dimensional shapes. We define a three-dimensional shape as any shape that has three dimensions. What are these three dimensions? They are length, width, and height. Look at your computer, and you are looking at a three-dimensional object. You see that it takes up space front and back, sideways, and up and down.

In this video lesson, we will look at some basic three-dimensional shapes, such as rectangular prisms, cubes, cylinders, and spheres.

Rectangular Prisms

Look at any brick, like the ones that people use to build houses, and you are looking at a rectangular prism. Moving boxes and storage boxes are all rectangular prisms, too. All of these are three-dimensional shapes because you have a width, a length, and a height.

If you go to the store to look for these boxes and bricks, you will see that they are labeled by their dimensions. You will see perhaps a sign that says 2 feet long by 3 feet wide by 4 feet high. This means that the box is 2 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 4 feet high. Look carefully, too, and you will see that every single corner of a rectangular prism is a right angle. The three dimensions though can be different sizes.


A cube is a rectangular prism where all the sides are the same size. Think of playing dice, and you are looking at a cube. Just like a rectangular prism, all the corners of a cube are right angles. The dimensions of a cube, though, will only have one number. We refer to a cube by its one dimension. So, instead of saying 1 inch long by 1 inch wide by 1 inch high, we just say a 1-inch cube.


Our next shape is a cylinder, a round stick. A soda can is a cylinder. See how it is all the same roundness going all the way up:

Example of a cylinder
image of a coke can

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