Main content

# Surface area word problem example

Akira won a science fair and got a golden pyramid trophy. We want to find out how much gold foil was used. The trophy has a square base and four triangular faces. By calculating the area of these shapes, we can find the total surface area covered by the gold foil.

## Want to join the conversation?

- can i get a small loan of $10 million from bill gates?(16 votes)
- why do you have to multiply by 1/2?😕(11 votes)
- Since the triangle is half of a parallelogram, which is why you multiply it by 1/2.(23 votes)

- The video: 😁

The real work: 😈(18 votes) - Any time you have a 3d surface area, do you have to unfold it all the time to find the area?(10 votes)
- No you can use formulas.(12 votes)

- I don’t get what lateral area is? Please help.(6 votes)
- It’s basically the surface area but without the base/s included(9 votes)

- this is very good. my grandma is a khan academy ambassador(8 votes)
- Why do i have to do 5x3 if im finding the area of a box that has a height of 5 and a width of 3?(6 votes)
- b/c you find area by multiplying length and height(4 votes)

- Why do you have to combine the area of both figures?(5 votes)
- Because you are trying to find the total area.(2 votes)

- and I am dumb so I understand none of this

;-;(2 votes)- You are not dumb; I used to not understand it either. Don't worry about your problems, just keep trying or search it up!(7 votes)

- how do you find the height of a pyramid if you are given the slant height?(4 votes)
- it is the same thing as the normal height(1 vote)

## Video transcript

- [Narrator] Akira receives
a prize at a science fair for having the most informative project. Her trophy is in the shape
of a square pyramid and is covered in shiny gold foil. So this is what her trophy looks like. How much gold foil did it
take to cover the trophy, including the bottom? And so they give us some
dimensions and we want how much gold foil and it's
in inches squared so it's really going to be an area. So pause this video and see
if you can figure that out. How much gold foil did it
take to cover the trophy? Alright now let's work
through this together. And so essentially what
they're asking is what is the surface area of this square pyramid. And we're doing to include
the base 'cause the surface area is how much, it's
the area of the gold foil that is needed. Now, sometimes, some of
you might be able to think about this just by looking at this figure, but just to make sure
we don't miss any area, I'm gonna open up this
square pyramid and think about it in two dimensions. So what we're gonna do is
imagine if I were to unleash or if I were to cut the top
and, let me do this in red, if I were to cut this edge, if I were to cut this edge, if I were to cut that edge, and that edge. So the edges that connect
the triangular sides and if I were to just open it all up, what would this look like? So if I were to open it all up? Well at the bottom you
would have your square base. Let me color that in. So you have your square base. So let me draw that. You have your square base,
this is gonna be a rough drawing. And what are the dimensions there? It's three by three. We know this is a square
pyramid so the base, all the sides are the same. They give us one side, but
then this is three inches then this is gonna be
three inches, as well. Let me color that same
color just so we recognize that we're talking about this same base. And now if we open up
the triangular faces, what's it going to look like? Well this is going to look like this. This is a rough hand drawing,
hopefully it makes sense. This is going to look like this. Each of these triangular
faces, they all have the exact same area. And the reason why I know
that, they all have the same base, three, and they
all have the same height, six inches. I'll draw that in a second. So they all look something like this. Just hand drawing it. And all of their heights,
all of their height are six inches. So this right over here is six inches. This over here is six inches. This over here is six
inches, and this over here is six inches. So to figure out how
much gold foil we need we're trying to figure
out this surface area, which is really just
gonna be the combined area of these figures. Well the area of this
central square is pretty easy to figure out. It's three inches by three
inches so it would be nine inches squared. Now what are the area of the triangles? Well we could figure out
the area of one of the triangles and then multiply by four, since there are four triangles. So the area of this
triangle right over here, it's going to be 1/2 times our base, which is three, times three, times our height, which is six. Let's see, one half times three times six, that's one half times 18
which is equal to nine. Nine square inches, or
nine inches squared. So what's gonna be our total area? Well you have the area
of your square base plus you have the four sides, which
each have an area of nine. So I could write it out, I
could write four times nine or I could write nine-- Do that black color. Or I would write nine plus
nine plus nine plus nine. And just to remind ourselves,
that right over there is the area of one triangular face. Triangular, triangular face. So this is all of the triangular faces. Triangular faces. And of course we have
to add that to the area of our square base. So this is nine plus nine times four, you could do this as nine times five, which is going to be 45 square inches. Nine plus nine plus nine
plus nine plus nine.