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Polygon Classification

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Polygon Classification

“Look," said Samantha as she and Juanita looked at the glass sculpture. "I can also see a hexagon, and it is made up of 6 equilateral triangles. That means that the sum of all of the angles of the hexagon is 1080^\circ .”

“How do you figure that?” Juanita asked shaking her head.

“Just look at it. You see those triangles, well if you add them up you get a sum of 1080^\circ . Oh, I can’t explain it,” Samantha said seeing Juanita’s confused look.

Can you explain it? To explain Samantha’s theory, you have to understand polygons and their angles. This Concept will teach you everything that you need to know to work through this problem. Take a few notes as you go through the Concept. At the end of it, you will need what you have learned to solve this problem.


In the Quadrilateral Classification Concept, we mentioned the word “polygon.” A polygon is a closed figure made up of lines and angles. Now we are going to look at polygons in more detail.

We classify polygons by the number of sides and the number of angles in it.

Here is a table with information on some of the different types of polygons.

Polygon Name Polygon Number of Angles and Sides Sum of Interior Angles
triangle 3 180^\circ
rectangle/square 4 360^\circ
pentagon 5 540^\circ
hexagon 6 720^\circ
heptagon 7 900^\circ
octagon 8 1,080^\circ
nonagon 9 1,260^\circ
decagon 10 1,440^\circ

Write down each polygon in the chart, its number of sides and the sum of its interior angles.

Look at the table.

You can see that polygons have similar names. In the word polygon, "poly" means “many” and "-gon" means “angle.” So polygon means “having many angles.” Now look at the name for the shape that has eight angles and sides. It is called an octagon. In octagon, "oct" means “eight.” An octopus, for example, has eight arms. In pentagon, "pent" means “five,” so this is a shape with five angles and sides.

Now take a look at the column on the right. Each kind of polygon has a different sum of its interior angles. For instance, the three angles in a triangle always add up to 180^\circ , and the four angles in a quadrilateral always add up to 360^\circ . No matter how long or short the sides of a triangle are, the angles must total 180^\circ . We can also identify polygons by the total number of degrees of their interior angles.

Let’s practice classifying some polygons.

Identify each polygon below.

Count the number of angles or sides. The first figure has six angles and sides. Check the table. Six angles and sides make it a hexagon.

You may already recognize the next figure. A triangle is a polygon that has three angles and sides.

Figure 3 is more unusual. It has nine angles and sides. This means it is a nonagon. Non-means “nine.”

The next figure has five angles and sides. Look at the table. A polygon having five angles and sides is called a pentagon.

You may recognize this shape too. It’s a rectangle. All rectangles are four-sided polygons. And, as we have learned, they are also called quadrilaterals. Quad means “four.”

Count the number of angles or sides in the last figure. It has seven angles and sides. This makes it a heptagon. Hept-means “seven.”

Use what you have learned to identify each polygon described.

Example A

The sum of the interior angles is 180^\circ .

Solution: Triangle

Example B

It has seven sides.

Solution: Heptagon

Example C

It has five sides and five angles.

Solution: Pentagon

Guided Practice

Here is one for you to try on your own.

Morgan stitched a geometric figure into part of a quilt she is sewing. She measured the angles to help her know where to stitch. The sum of the angle measures was 1,080^\circ . What kind of polygon did she stitch?


In this dilemma, we have no easy way of knowing how many angles or sides the figure has. What do we know? We know that the sum of the interior angles, however many there are, is 1,080^\circ . Only one polygon has angles that always add up to this amount. Check the table above.

Morgan must have stitched an octagon. Now we know that the distinguishing properties of an octagon are not only that it has eight sides and angles, but that its eight angles must have a sum of 1,080^\circ .

Video Review

This is a James Sousa video on classifying polygons.

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Directions: Identify the polygons in the diagram. Then find the measures of the unknown angles.


Directions: Answer true or false for each of the following questions.

2. A rhombus is always a square.

3. A parallelogram has opposite sides that are parallel.

4. A rectangle is a type of parallelogram.

5. Squares, rectangles and rhombi are parallelograms with four right angles.

6. A trapezoid has four right angles.

7. A trapezoid has one pair of parallel sides.

Directions: Determine whether or not each image is a polygon. If yes, write polygon, if no, write not a polygon.








15. A square tile on a floor

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