The Cone and Cylinder Debate!

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Written by Holly (Teach Starter)

For over a year now, the Teach Starter team have been debating how to label the properties of a cone and cylinder. Who would have thought 3D objects would be so controversial?

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Most of us were taught that cones and cylinders have edges and faces!

However, this has changed and there is a mathematical reason behind this change!

The NSW Syllabus outlines it very clearly:

  • In geometry, the term ‘face’ refers to a flat surface with only straight edges, as in prisms and pyramids, eg. a cube has six faces.
  • Curved surfaces, such as those found in cylinders, cones, and spheres, are not classified as ‘faces’.
  • Similarly, flat surfaces with curved boundaries, such as the circular surfaces of cylinders and cones, are not ‘faces’.
  • In geometry, the term ‘edge’ refers to the interval (straight line) formed where two faces of a three-dimensional object meet.
  • The NSW Syllabus describes a cylinder as a 3D object that has two flat surfaces, one curved surface, no faces, no edges and no vertices.

What are your thoughts? Does your school do something different?

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