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What you need to know
What you need to know:
The surface area of a 3D shape is a measure of how much area the surface of that shape has. You can sometimes imagine unfolding the shape and flattening it out in order to measure the area of the, now 2D, shape. You should understand the meaning of the surface area, and know how to calculate the surface area of various kinds of 3D shapes.
The shapes you are asked to calculate the surface area of will either have flat faces, at which point calculating the surface area amounts to calculating the area of multiple, individual 2D shapes, or it will be one of the following:
- Cylinders: the two ends are circles, and the curved face can be folded out to be a rectangle, so this becomes a matter of adding together several areas;
- Cones: the base is a circle, and the formula for the area of the curved face is \pi r l, where r is the radius of the circle and l is the “slant height” of the cone, i.e. the distance if you walked in a straight line from the base of the cone up to the top;
- Spheres: the formula for the surface area is 4 \pi r^2 where r is the radius of the sphere.
You may also be asked questions which involve solving problems such as finding missing side-lengths using the formulae for the surface areas above. Knowledge and familiarity with them is important for answering those questions that come from other directions, not just those that ask you to calculate the surface areas directly.
Surface Area Revision and Worksheets
Surface Area Teaching Resources
Surface area and shapes are not always liked by students and finding engaging yet challenging worksheets can be tricky. This is why Maths Made Easy decided to make a super resource for students, tutors and teachers so that everyone could access fantastic GCSE Maths resources, including surface area and shapes worksheets, from one easy to use website.
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