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House of Maths School Workshops Primary & Secondary in Dorset & South - HEXAHEDRA AND OTHER “HEX” WORDS


Every school child knows that a Hexagon is a flat shape with six straight sides, but here are six more great Hex- words to enjoy, together with instructions on how to make your own Hexahedra!

1)         HEXADACTYLY: the condition of having six fingers (or toes) on one (or both) of your hands (or feet). King Henry VIII’s second wife Anne Boleyn was hexadactyl, meaning that you could count all six of Henry’s wives on the fingers of one of Anne’s gloves.

2)         HEXAPOD: an animal with six legs, such as Harry the Hexapod (pictured). But if you’re reading this then you’re probably a Biped (two legs).


3)         HEXAHEDRON: a 3-D shape made up of six flat faces. A cube is a Hexahedron, and so is a cuboid, but some people (“topologists”) would say that they are essentially the same shape because they’re both made of six quadrilaterals (4-sided shapes) and you can “stretch” one of them into the other. My favourite Hexahedron is a Pentagon-based Pyramid, and this one is topologically different to a cube / cuboid because it’s made of one pentagon and five triangles. Here’s a printable net so you can make your own – go ahead, it’s really pretty! You can make yet another Hexahedron out of just six triangles by making two tetrahedra (or Triangular-Based Pyramids”) and gluing them together. But in case you don’t have two tetrahedra to hand, I’ve included the net for that one as well. There are several other types of hexahedron as well; see if you can imagine what any of them would look like.

4)         HEXAGRAM: a figure made of six straight lines, such as the blue one on Israel’s national flag. Here is a hexagram together with a pentagram (5 lines) and a septagram (7 lines). See if you can draw them freehand.


5)         HEX: this is a word in its own right, and refers to either a curse / spell, or to the witch who is putting the hex on someone. Can you invent a good magic word for a hexadactyly hex?

6)         HEXASYLLABIC: this means ‘having six syllables’, like the word “higgledy-piggledy” or the phrase “Sausages and Ketchup”, but NOT the word “hexasyllabic” which, having just five syllables, is only pentasyllabic! I’ve made up two hexasyllabic words of my own: MATHEMALEFICENT (a maths villain who writes her threes backwards), and ARITHMETHERAPY (when you do sums to make you feel better).

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