# What is an Apex in Math?

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

The Great Pyramids. A party hat. The eyes of a jack-o-lantern. What do all these have in common? They all have an apex! Let's learn how to find the apex of a shape and what shapes can have an apex.

## I'm On Top Of The World!

Have you ever jumped off a high dive? Or taken a hot air balloon ride over your town? Have you ever flown in an airplane and looked down on the land below you? If you have, then you've experienced a little bit of what it's like to be on top of the world!

Imagine being one of the few people on Earth to climb the world's highest mountain above sea level. Yes, we are talking about Mount Everest! At over 29,000 feet, people try each year to reach the to top of this mountain! Once they get to the top, they have reached the highest point on Earth. Think of this location as the apex of the Earth. So what does that mean?

An apex is the highest point of certain shapes. The apex of Mount Everest is the top of the mountain! The apex is usually located at a vertex. So what is a vertex? A vertex is a single point where two or more lines, curves, or sides meet. The apex is located directly at the highest point above or opposite the bottom of the shape called a base.

## Apex on Pyramids

There are two solid, or three-dimensional, shapes that have an apex. The first shape that we will talk about is a pyramid! The pyramid has an apex located at the top vertex. Here all the sides of the pyramid meet. In a triangular pyramid, three triangular sides meet at the apex above a triangular base. In a square pyramid, four triangular sides meet at the apex above a square base. There are other types of pyramids with different shapes for their bases. However, each one has an apex where all the sides meet above the base! Each of the pyramids shown are labeled to show its apex and base. Take a look!

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