Common Core Math Vocabulary

Rectangular Prism - Definition with Examples

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What is a rectangular prism? 
In geometry, a rectangular prism can be defined as a 3-dimensional solid shape which has six faces that are rectangles. 

A rectangular prism is also a cuboid.

Rectangular Prism Cuboid Box

We can find the shape of a rectangular prism in a truck, a chest of drawers and in an aquarium, around us. 

Rectangular Prisms Real life Examples Things around us

Properties of a Rectangular Prism :
  • A rectangular prism has 8 vertices, 12 sides and 6 rectangular faces.
  • All the opposite faces of a rectangular prism are equal. 
  • A rectangular prism has a rectangular cross section.

Rectangular prisms can be of two types, namely right rectangular prism and non-right rectangular prisms.

Surface Area and Volume of a Rectangular Prism:

Let’s consider this rectangular prism with the length, width and height marked. 

Dimensions of a Rectangular Prism - length, width, breadth, surface area, volume

Since all the faces of a rectangular prism are rectangles and opposite faces are equal, the surface area of a rectangular prism can be calculated using the following formula:

Surface Area = 2 {( width x length ) + ( length x height ) + (width x height )}

Volume of a rectangular prism is simply obtained by multiplying all three dimensions - length, height and width.

Volume = length x width x height

  Fun Facts

  • Rectangular prisms are the most commonly used prisms in real life, especially in packaging, from cereal boxes to cartons and parcels delivered by mail.  

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I see a rectangular prism in a red brick.
And, sometimes in books, big, fat and thick.
Also, in a suitcase, and the TV remote I click.  

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Ask your child to find and observe things in the shape of rectangular prism such as in a television, a cupboard, a cookie box or a cereal box. Further, you can show and explore how a cereal box is a 3-dimensional rectangular prism.

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