12 Interesting Facts About Hexagon for Kids (2024 Updated!)
Have you ever wondered what a circle mixed with a square would look like? Well, I’d like to imagine that’s what a hexagon is!
A hexagon is a six-sided polygon. Now if you’re wondering what a polygon is, it’s a closed curve made up of a group of lines. This may sound a little complicated, but hexagons can be found all over in nature! Honeycombs are examples of regular hexagons, and snowflakes are irregular hexagons.
Did you know even some minerals and chemical compounds have hexagonal shapes?
To know more about hexagons, read on!
What is a hexagon?
A hexagon is a six-sided polygon. This means that it has six sides and six corners! There are two types of hexagons – regular and irregular. A regular hexagon’s sides are all of equal lengith while an irregular hexagon has unequally sized sides.
A regular hexagon’s internal angles are 120 degrees each. An irregular hexagon’s internal angles, on the other hand, can be higher or lower than 120 degrees each, depending on the length of that particular side.
The word hexagon comes from “hexa”, meaning six, and “gonia”, meaning angles.
Hexagons, like triangles and squares, fit together snugly, without any gaps between each other. This phenomenon is called a tesselation.
Hexagons can be found all over nature and in human-made creations. Honeycombs, snowflakes, chemical compounds, tile designs, footballs, face of a pencil, etc are examples of hexagonal shapes in the real world.
What are some properties of a hexagon?
There are different types of hexagons, based on the measure of their sides and angles. The most commonly known classifications of hexagons are into regular and irregular.
Properties of a regular hexagon:
- All sides are of equal length.
- Each interior angle is 120 degrees.
- Each exterior angle is 60 degrees.
- Since all angles are equal, the measure of the interior angles will always be 720 degrees.
- These can be divided into six equally shaped triangles.
- All opposite sides of a regular hexagon are parallel to each other.
Irregular hexagons, on the other hand, have unequal sides. This also means that the angles they make up are not equal or measure 120 degrees.
Facts about hexagon for kids
Beehives are made up of hexagons
When bees make their homes, they make use of the hexagonal shape to conserve space, ensure the structure is strong and stable, and still have enough space to store their honey and baby bees.
Hexagons are one of the strongest shapes in nature. So, by employing this polygon, the bees ensure that all their babies are safe and that big prey don’t enter easily.
A volcanic eruption created large blocks of hexagons!
In Ireland, a long time ago, a volcanic eruption lead to the creation of a large group of hexagons. These polygons were made entirely of basalt columns as the volcanic remains cooled down on the ground over time.
Known as Ireland’s Great’s Causeway, it has now become a large natural attraction, and has become part of a national park in the country.
These volcanic rocks cool down to form jagged, uneven columns of hexagons that spread over several miles.
Turtles sport hexagons too
A turtle’s shell, known as its carapace, protects the animal from harm and bigger, more dangerous prey. Since the shell is attached to its body, the turtle needs to ensure that no harm befalls it while in the water or on land.
And since hexagons are strong and stable, it makes sense that the carapace is made entirely of it too, right?
America’s largest hexagon is in Florida
If you were wondering if there are buildings in a hexagonal shape, there are several of them all around the world! The largest human-made hexagonal structure in the United States is in Florida, so all you kids in Florida go check this out!
It’s called Fort Jefferson, and it’s a former US military coastal fortress. It is located in the Dry Tortugas National Park of Florida. It is an incredible feat of architecture.
In the beginning, the Dry Tortugas islands were deemed unfit to be a naval site, by Navy Commodore David Porter. However, now, it is known as the protector of North America’s most strategic deepwater anchorages.
There’s a building called The Hexagon in England
This shape is so famous that there’s even a theater in Reading, England, called The Hexagon Theatre. This venue hosts an eclectic mix of comedians, performers, and artists.
It was initially built to improve the acoustics in theaters so the audience could hear the actors and performers more clearly. In addition to this, it also solved the problem of having a large audience in a limited space, because hexagons are efficient, compact, and space conserving.
It is the strongest shape
There is a reason why a lot of things in nature employ the hexagonal shape. It is because this polygon is extremely stable and the strongest shape found in nature. Once us humans figured this out, we began using it in our architectural and creative designs.
Since it is less prone to breakage, damage, or wear and tear, it has been dubbed the strongest shape.
Tiny structures like crystals, minerals, some chemical compunds like benzene, and snowflakes are also made up of hexagons to ensure stability and strength.
Even Saturn has a huge hexagon on its surface
Now, you might be thinking how a hexagon is involved with a large, spherical planet, but it is! On the northern pole of the planet, there is a huge, persistent cloud pattern in the shape of a hexagon. This cloud pattern is even bigger than the Earth!
It is known as the north polar hexagonal cloud. It was discovered during the Voyager mission in 1981 and is thought to be a jet stream of gases going at 200 miles per hour.
Pencils are hexagons as well
Think about the pencils we use every day. What shape are they?
The products we use daily are also shaped like hexagons because of their versatile, strong, stable build. Having pencils in this shape make them easier to construct and hold. Since the angles at the center of a hexagon connect to make a circle, this makes fitting lead inside it also super easy and efficient.
The New York Supreme Court is hexagon-shaped
The largest and most powerful judicial house in America is a hexagon!
Like we learned earlier, hexagons allow you to fit a lot of room in a limited space, so although it may look relatively small on the outside, in reality, it has a lot of room.
The Supreme Court in the State of New York is a massive piece of architecture, and its polygonal shape only adds to its beauty and charm.
France is vaguely hexagonal in shape! (l’Hexagone)
There are so many hexagons in nature and the human world that even the borders for the country of France resemble it!
What’s more interesting is that even the French refer to the nation as l’Hexagone, or simply Hexagone.
And this makes complete sense, because although the country may seem small, there’s A LOT in there. Whether it be in terms of architecture, people, culture, nature, you name it, France has got it all.
Honeycombs and footballs sure became more interesting, didn’t they? What’s fascinating about this shape is that it is so commonly found in nature all the time, we often don’t notice them!
Hexagons also fall under a phenomenon called tesselation, making them very efficient and space-conserving. They fit snugly into each other, ensuring there are no gaps, and that the shape is very stable. This is why honeycombs are made up entirely of hexagons to ensure maximum space utilization.
Although there are several kinds of hexagons, the most commonly known ones are regular and irregular hexagons.
Next time you use a pencil, make sure to check out the unsharpened end to see the hexagonal shape!