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Bernie Hawkins

GCSE Maths Revision


Shape and Space
2. Polygons

2. Polygons
One of Mr Bartons Top 10 Maths Jokes
What did the pirate (who was also a very keen mathematician) say when his parrot flew
away?... Poly-gon! you cant beat a maths joke, hey?... anyway

What are Polygons?


A Polygon is any closed shape which has three or more sides.
Regular Polygons
All their sides are the same length, and all their angles are the same size
e.g. squares, equilateral triangles, regular octagons
Irregular Polygons
Youve guessed it these do not have equal length sides and angles
Rectangle, kites and trapeziums are an irregular polygons, but so too are shapes like this:

Two types of Polygons that you must be especially clued up about are quadrilaterals and triangles

1. Triangles
There are 4 types of triangles you need to be on the look-out for and you must know the
properties of (what is special about) each of them

Equilateral

All angles are equal (60 each)


All sides are the same length
Three lines of symmetry

Isosceles

Two angles are equal


Two sides are the same length
One line of symmetry

Right Angled

One angle is 90
All sides may be different lengths
All angles may be different
May have 0 or 1 line of symmetry

Scalene

All angles are different sizes


All sides are different lengths
No lines of symmetry

2. Quadrilaterals
A Quadrilateral is any four-sided shape. There are lots of quadrilaterals flying around, and it
is important that you know the properties of each so here they are!

Square

Parallelogram

All angles are right-angles (90


All sides are the same length
Two pairs of parallel lines
Four lines of symmetry

Opposite angles are equal


Opposite sides are the same length
Two pairs of parallel sides
May have no lines of symmetry
All angles are right-angles (90 each)
Opposite sides are the same length
Opposite sides are parallel
Has two lines of symmetry
0

Rectangle

each)

Rhombus

Opposite angles are equal


All sides are the same length
Opposite sides are parallel
Two lines of symmetry

Notice: Each of the four shapes above are very similar in fact, they are all just special
types of parallelograms! See how they each have two pairs of parallel sides and then it just
certain other properties that make them different shapes!

Trapezium

Kite

All angles may be different sizes


All sides may be different lengths
Opposite sides are parallel
May have no lines of symmetry
One pair of equal angles
Adjacent sides are the same length
No pairs of parallel sides
One line of symmetry

3. Other Polygons
As soon as you get above 4 sides, the names of the polygons start to get a bit weird. Here
are some of the main ones you should learn.
Notice: Each of the shapes below are regular polygons as all the sides and angles are the
same but any 8 sided shape is still an octagon, it may just be an irregular one!

5 sides

6 sides

Pentagon

Hexagon

7 sides

Heptagon / Heptagon

9 sides

10 sides

12 sides

Nonagon

Decagon

Dodecagon

8 sides

Octagon

20 sides

Icosagon

4. Interior Angles of Polygons


An interior angle is any angle inside the polygon
If we are told the number of sides a polygon has, we can work out the total sum of all the
interior angles using this little formula:

Sum of all interior angles =

(Number of sides of polygon 2) x

180

Why?
Well, its all to do with triangles
We know that the sum of the interior angles of any triangle is
1800, right?
Well we can split any polygon up into triangles, like this
And there will always be 2 fewer triangles than there are sides!

1
4
6 sides
4 triangles

For Regular Polygons


Because all angles are equal in regular polygons, you can work out the size of each interior
angle like this:

Size of each interior angle =

Sum of all interior angles Number of sides

5. Exterior Angles of Polygons


An exterior angle is an angle outside the polygon
made by extending one of the sides

exterior
angle

And here is the fact!

Sum of all exterior angles =

3600

Why?
Well, if you keep moving around the polygon, extending the sides and measuring each
exterior angle, by the time you get back to where you started you have made a circle!
Which, as we all know, contains 3600

For Regular Polygons


If all interior angles are equal for regular polygons, then all exterior angles are equal too,
so to work out the size of each one, we do this

Size of each exterior angle =

3600 Number of sides

Note: If you know the sizes of the exterior angles of a regular polygon, then you can also

work out the sizes of the interiors by remembering that angles on a straight line add up to
1800

Size of each interior angle =

1800

Size of each exterior angle

6. Massive Table of Facts


Using the formulae we have talked about, it is possible to work out pretty much any angle fact
about any size polygon. Have a practice to make sure you can get the numbers in this table
Name of
Polygon

Number of
Sides

Total Sum of
Interior
Angles

Size of each
Interior Angle
if Regular

Total Sum of
Exterior
Angles

Size of each
Exterior Angle
if Regular

Triangle

180

60

360

120

Quadrilateral

360

90

360

90

Pentagon

540

108

360

72

Hexagon

720

120

360

60

Heptagon

900

128.6 (1dp)

360

51.4 (1dp)

Octagon

1080

135

360

45

Good luck with


your revision!