Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Sam, a student:

A right rectangular pyramid has a rectangular base measuring 18 cm by 32 cm. The height of the pyramid is 12 cm. What is the surface area?

Hi Sam,

I drew a rough sketch of the pyramid and added a triangle.


The surface is composed of a rectangle that has an area which is easy to calculate and four triangles. Consider the triangle that contains the points P and Q. Q is the midpoint of the base of that triangle, the length of PQ is its height and R is the midpoint of the base rectangle. What is the length QR? What is the length PQ?


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