Geometric shapes are practically everywhere. No matter where you look, almost everything is made up of simpler geometry. A truss bridge is made primarily of rectangles, squares and triangles, for example. A snowman is made up of circles, with a cone-shaped carrot nose.
These shapes, both two-dimensional and three-dimensional, are incredibly important in the context of learning math too. Providing examples of geometric shapes will teach both you and your students about their function and how to better understand them.
Examples of Geometric Shapes
Here is a list of different geometric shapes, along with a description and examples of where you can spot them in everyday life.
- Circle: A round shape with the same radius from a fixed point in the center.
e.g., pizza pie, cookies, wheels of a bike
- Square: Four equal straight sides with four right angles
e.g., a garage, square rubber stamps, tiles on the floor
- Triangle: Three-sided figure with straight sides
e.g., a slice of pizza, a slice of cheese cut in that shape, a sandwich cut diagonally
- Rectangle: Four straight sides with four right angles, different length and width
e.g., apartment buildings, hopscotch board, a book cover, most cell phones
- Pentagon: Five straight sides, typically of equal length
e.g., The Pentagon, the designs found on soccer balls
- Hexagon: Six straight sides, typically of equal length
e.g., ice crystals, some snowflakes, beehive cells
- Heptagon: Seven straight sides, typically of equal length
e.g., covers for a cookie bin, some types of pill boxes
- Octagon: Eight straight sides, typically of equal length
e.g., stop sign, some umbrellas, UFC ring
- Nonagon: Nine straight sides, typically of equal length
e.g., lids for some types of cookie bins/containers
- Decagon: 10 straight sides, typically of equal length
e.g., certain collectors coins
- Trapezoid: Four-sided figure with just one pair of parallel sides
e.g., the trusses on some bridges, a pyramid with the top cut off, a popcorn box
- Parallelogram: Four-sided figure with two pairs of parallel sides
e.g., a classic eraser, some purses, the structure of some bridges
- Rhombus: A parallelogram with equal length sides
e.g., baseball diamonds, some kites, certain crystals
- Star: A multi-sided polygon with points and obtuse angles
e.g., Star of David, star stickers, star necklace, star cookie cutters
- Crescent: A curved sickle shape, curved and tapers to a point
e.g., crescent rolls, the moon during certain phases, the curved shape on the flags of Pakistan and Turkey
- Oval: A stretched out circle where the radius is shorter on one axis than the other
e.g., eggs, buns for a hot dog, a running track
- Semicircle: A circle cut exactly in half along its diameter
e.g., half a cookie, half a pizza pie, other incomplete circles
- Cylinder: A three-dimensional figure with parallel sides and a circular cross-section
e.g., cardboard inside a paper towel, a straight pipe, a drinking glass
- Prism: A three-dimensional figure where one pair of opposite sides are the same shape, connected by straight, parallel sides
e.g., cardboard box, cameras, cereal box, Toblerone box
- Pyramid: A three-dimensional figure with one flat side and edges emerging to come together at a point
e.g., the Great Pyramid of Giza, roof of a house
Some of these shapes are interchangeable, of course. For example, a bag might not always be a parallelogram, as there are certainly circular bags and other types possible. This list is also not exhaustive either, as there are many other two-dimensional and three-dimensional geometric shapes.
The purpose of having examples of geometric shapes is so that you can see how these figures are actually important in everyday activity. That way, you can transmit the information regarding practical applications of geometric figures to anyone you're educating.
Polygons and Polyhedrons
"Geometric shapes" is a more general term that encompasses all of these types of shapes. However, if you want to be more specific, the shapes that are only in two dimensions (like a square) can be called polygons. That's defined as a plane figure with at least three straight sides, typically creating an enclosed shape.
When you take that into the third dimension, like with a cube, it becomes a solid figure that you call a polyhedron. The -gon and -hedron suffixes can then be used to define the number of sides or edges, like a decagon and a decahedron.