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Published by Saurav Kumar Sahoo

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Published by: Saurav Kumar Sahoo on Apr 18, 2011
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To give a suggestive demonstration of the formula for the
lateral surface area of a cone.

chart papers,
a pair of scissors,

Materials required

Pre-requisite knowledge

1.The lateral surface of a cone can be formed from a sector of a circle.
2.Formula for area of a parallelogram.


1.Cut vertically and unroll the cone. Identify the region. The region is a sector of
circle. [Fig 16(a & b)]
2.Identify the arc length of the sector as the base circumference of the cone and the
radius of the sector as the slant height of the cone.
3.Fold and cut the sector into 4 (even number of) equal smaller sectors. [Fig 16(b)]
4.Arrange the smaller sectors to form approximately a parallelogram. [Fig 16(c)]


1.Students observe that the base of the parallelogram is roughly half the

circumference of the base of the cone. i.e.



× 2πr = πr .

2.The height of the parallelogram is roughly the slant height of the cone ‘l’.
3.Therefore, curved surface area = area of the parallelogram = πrl .

Learning outcome

1.Students learn that the surface area of a cone is πrl where r is the radius of the
cone and l is the slant height.
2.Students appreciate how folding turns a plane surface (sector of a circle) into a
curved surface (of the cone), and vice versa.


1.The teacher may help students observe that the base of the parallelogram is
half the base circumference of the cone.
2.The teacher should point out that this activity does not give an exact proof of the
formula, and the approximation improves by increasing the number of divisions of
the sector.
3.The teacher may point out that the total surface area of the cone may be obtained
by adding curved surface area to the area of the base.
i.e. total area = πrl + πr2


Fig 16(a)

Fig 16(b)

Fig 16(c)


Activity 17

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