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## High school geometry

### Course: High school geometry > Unit 9

Lesson 2: Cavalieri's principle and dissection methods- Cavalieri's principle in 2D
- Cavalieri's principle in 3D
- Cavalieri's principle in 3D
- Apply Cavalieri's principle
- Volume of pyramids intuition
- Volume of a pyramid or cone
- Volumes of cones intuition
- Using related volumes
- Use related volumes
- Volume of prisms and pyramids

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# Volumes of cones intuition

CCSS.Math: ,

Use Cavalieri's Principle to establish that the formula for the volume of a cone is the same as the formula for the volume of a pyramid (1/3 * base area * height). Created by Sal Khan.

## Want to join the conversation?

- If I look at the two pictures, did Sal consider the correct "h" in the left picture, because "h" is not perpendicular to the base, whilst in the right picture "h" is perpendicular to the base?! In other words should Sal have drawn a perpendicular from the top onto the base of the left picture as "h"? I hope to receive a reply...thanks very much, gui

p.s. One last remark I would like to make is that the way Sal drew the pictures, they can't have the same volume, because in the left picture "h" is not the perpendicular height with respect to its base!(4 votes)- The 2 pictures are not the same shape. One is a pyramid and the other is a cone. The formulas used to find their surface area are different which is why a different approach is being taken.

And, 2 different shapes can have the same area. A square that is 4 by 4 has area 16. A triangle with base 6.4 and height 5 also has area of 16.(5 votes)

- Others have asked this question, but I haven't seen an explanation that I understand. The height of a pyramid is measured from the vertex/apex to the center of the base--not the length of one edge, right? In this video, the diagram shows height as being the length of one vertical edge of the pyramid. Shouldn't the height of both the cone and the pyramid be measured using the same method: Distance from the center of the base to the vertex/apex? Thank you for your help!(2 votes)
- I have submitted a request in "Report a Problem." You are correct in that the height of a right pyramid should be measured from the base to the center of the base. We have to wait and see if anything happens, I will pass on any response, or one day you may see a correction box.(2 votes)

- Why are the triangles similar?(1 vote)
- Just to let you know Mr.Khan,the word figure is pronounced like figyur, not figger(0 votes)
- This video really confused me alot. If anyone could help me, that would be helpful(0 votes)
- To properly answer your question I would need to know what was confuseig. But if you go back and watch a few videos before I think you will understand a lot better.(2 votes)

## Video transcript

- [Instructor] So I have two different three-dimensional figures here. I have a pyramid here on the left, and I have a cone here on the right. And we know a few things
about these two figures. First of all, they have
the exact same height. So this length right over here is h, and this length right over here, going from the peak to the
center of the base here, is h as well. We also know that the area
of the bases is the same. So for example, in this left pyramid, the area of the base would be x times, and let's just assume that it is a square, so x times x. So the area here is going
to be equal to x squared. And the area of the base, so that's area of this
base is equal to x squared. And the area of this base right
over here would be equal to area is equal to pi times r squared. And I'm saying that these
two things are the same. So we also know that x squared
is equal to pi r squared. Now, my question to you
is do these two figures have the same volume, or is it different? And if they are different,
which one has a larger volume? Pause this video, and
try to think about that. All right, now let's do this together. Now, given that we're
talking about two figures that have the same height
and at least the area of the base is the same,
you might be thinking that Cavalieri's
principle might be useful. And just a reminder of what that is, Cavalieri's principle tells us
that if you have two figures, and we're thinking in three dimension, three-dimensional version
of Cavalieri's principle, if you have two figures
that have the same height and at any point along that height the cross-sectional area is the same, then the figures have the same volume. So what we need to do
is figure out is it true that at any point in this height do these figures have the
same cross-sectional area? Well, to think about that, let's pick an arbitrary
point along this height. And just for simplicity, let's pick halfway along the height, although we could do this analysis at any point along the height. So halfway along the height there. Halfway along the height there. So this distance right over here, that would be h over two. This distance right over
here would be h over two. This whole thing is h. And what we can do is construct what look like similar triangles, and we can even prove it to ourselves that these are similar triangles. So let me construct them right over here. And the reason why we
know they're similar is that this line is going to
be parallel to this line and that this line is parallel
to that line, to that radius. And how do we know that? Well, we're taking cross-sectional areas that are parallel to the base, that are parallel to the surface on which it sits in this situation. So in either case, these cross-sections are
going to be parallel. So these lines, which sit
in these cross-sections or sit on the base and
sit in the cross-section, have to be parallel as well. Well, because these are parallel lines, this angle is congruent to that angle. This angle is congruent to this angle. 'Cause these are transversals
across parallel lines, and these are just corresponding angles. And of course, they share
this angle in common. And here, you see very clearly
right angle, right angle. This angle is congruent to that angle, and then both triangles share that. And so this smaller triangle
in either case is similar to the larger triangle. And what that helps us
realize is that the ratio between corresponding sides
is going to be the same. So if this side is h over two and the entire height is h, so this is half of the entire height, that tells us that this side
is going to be half of r. So this right over here
is going to be r over two. And this side over here,
by the same argument, is going to be x over two. And so what's the
cross-sectional area here? Well, it's going to be x over two squared. So it's going to be x over two squared, which is equal to x squared over four, which is 1/4 of the base's area, which is equal to 1/4 of the base's area. And what about over here? Well, this cross-sectional
area is going to be pi times r over two squared, which is the same thing
as pi r squared over four, or we could say that is 1/4 pi r squared, which is the same thing as
1/4 of the area of the base. The area of the base is pi r squared. Now we're saying 1/4 pi r squared. So this is going to be
equal to 1/4 the area. And we already said that
these areas are the same, and so we've just seen that
the cross-sectional area at that point of the height of both of these figures is the same. And you could do that
1/4 along the height, 3/4 along the height. You're going to get the
same exact analysis. You're gonna have two similar triangles, and you're going to see that
you have the same areas, same cross-sectional areas
at that point of the height. And so therefore, we see
by Cavalieri's principle in three dimensions that these two figures have the same volume. And what's interesting
about that is it allows us to take the formula, which we've proven and gotten the intuition
for in other videos, for the volume of a pyramid. We've learned that the volume
of a pyramid is equal to 1/3 times base times height. And say, well, this one must
have the exact same volume. It must also be volume is equal to 1/3 times the area of the
base times the height. Because in both of these cases, the area of the base is the same, and the height is the same. And we know that they
have the same volume.