It’s a trap! Err, actually, it’s a trapezoid! 🙂 A free printable trapezoid shape to be even more specific as well as a in-depth refresher that covers everything from the basics (what is a trapezoid) to the advanced (how to find the area of a trapezoid).
Has your child ever asked you for help with his or her homework and you’ve known the answer immediately without having to ask Google, Siri, Alexa, or any other electronic know-it-all? It’s great isn’t it? I mean, seriously, confetti and balloons should rain down from the ceiling!
Unfortunately, that probably won’t happen when it comes to tricky geometrical shapes like trapezoids.
That’s because (and be honest now) when was the last time anyone asked you what is the area of a trapezoid or the trapezoid formula for finding the perimeter? I know when! When you were taking geometry! Yep, let’s face it, most of us aren’t using this stuff in our adult lives, but don’t worry, that’ll be our little secret.
I created a printable trapezoid template (scroll down) that can tell you what does a trapezoid look like as well as help demonstrate some of the math concepts, like what is the area of a trapezoid, so be sure to download it! As mentioned above, in addition to the free printable trapezoid shape, this post includes an all-things-trapezoid refresher. The refresher will cover:
- What is a trapezoid, including trapezoid properties, like how many sides does a trapezoid have.
- How do trapezoids compare to other shapes? For example, is a rectangle a trapezoid? Is a trapezoid a parallelogram?
- Basic trapezoid geometry including trapezoid area formula, how to find the perimeter of a trapezoid, and how to find the volume of trapezoid shapes.
- Much more!
Bonus: And there’s more where that came from! Head to the Freebie Finding Mom shop to get my 132-page shapes bundle now!
In this 132-page printable shapes worksheets bundle in the Freebie Finding Mom shop you’ll get printable shape tracing worksheets, matching shapes worksheets, shapes coloring pages, counting shapes worksheets, shape pattern worksheets, printable shapes, 2D shapes charts, and shapes flashcards. If you need preschool shapes worksheets or shapes worksheets for kindergarten, you’ll find that and more here! Snag this incredible shapes bundle now!
Psst! A lot of the trapezoid shape refresher information is geared toward school-age children (not your preschooler). However, if you have a little one at home, you can still put this printable trapezoid template to use! Perhaps it could be used as:
- Part of an arts or crafts project; for example to teach your child how to draw a trapezoid as part of a circus scene (like the thing an elephant or the ringmaster stands on).
- A simple coloring sheet. Coloring can help improve motor coordination and promote creativity and relaxation. (Psst! For more coloring pages, including some fun options for adults, snag free printable coloring pages here.)
- A piece in a homemade matching game. Your matching game could use shapes, letters, numbers, etc. to help your child develop focus and visual memory! For example, you could challenge him or her to match uppercase letters with lowercase letters. (Psst! You can download free printable bubble letters and bubble numbers here.)
Feeling super inspired? Awesome … let’s keep the good times rolling (or not, since trapezoids aren’t round, haha)! First, a trapezoid definition.
A Trapezoid Definition
Before we can answer questions like is a trapezoid a quadrilateral, how do you find the area of a trapezoid, and what is the formula for a trapezoid’s volume, let’s start with the basics. Like very basic. What is a trapezoid?
A basic trapezoid definition is a closed shape with four straight sides that has one pair of opposite sides that are parallel. Here are some trapezoid properties that might make it clearer:
- A closed shape.
- How many sides does a trapezoid have? They always have four.
- One pair of opposites sides are parallel to each other.
- It may have right angles, which is called a right trapezoid.
- It may have congruent (equal) sides, which is called an isosceles trapezoid.
Sounds simple, right? Well, there is one sort of controversial aspect to trapezoids. Some places define a trapezoid as having only one set of parallel sides. (This is called the exclusive definition.)
Other places define a trapezoid as having at least one set of parallel sides, but it may have two sets. (This is called the inclusive definition.) Go with what ever definition your teacher tells you to use! And who knew the answer to what is a trapezoid shape could be controversial?
What is a right trapezoid?
When someone asks about a right trapezoid it doesn’t mean there is a wrong trapezoid. (Haha, get it?) A right trapezoid just means that the trapezoid shape has right (90 degree) angles.
What are isosceles trapezoid properties?
Isosceles trapezoid properties are the same as the other trapezoid properties except they must have two congruent (equal length) sides.
Still not able to summon up a picture of a trapezoid? Just scroll down to the printable to see what does a trapezoid look like! The printable trapezoid shape will show you how many sides does a trapezoid have and be useful as we go through more of the refresher.
What is A Trapezoid Shape Vs. Other Shapes
Based on the trapezoid properties and definition above, we technically know the answer to “what is a trapezoid;” however, how does it compare to other shapes?
Is a trapezoid a parallelogram?
Well, first, what is a parallelogram? A parallelogram is a quadrilateral with two pairs of opposite parallel sides. The opposite sides are also equal in length.
So is a trapezoid a parallelogram? Well, it could be, if you’re using the inclusive definition, but it doesn’t have to be. Go back to the properties that define trapezoid—only one pair of opposite sides must be parallel to each other.
Note: Remember, some classes teach that a trapezoid can only have one pair of parallels. If that’s how your teacher wants to define trapezoid shapes then your trapezoid could never be a parallelogram!
Is a trapezoid a quadrilateral?
Okay, you already know the answer to “is a trapezoid a quadrilateral” because we said so in the define trapezoid section. (It is a quadrilateral.) However, just for clarity, let’s define what a quadrilateral is: A quadrilateral is a two dimensional closed shape that has four straight sides.
Pop quiz: Is a trapezoid always a quadrilateral? Cue the Jeopardy music. The answer to is a trapezoid always a quadrilateral is yes. That’s because a trapezoid is always closed and always has four straight sides.
Is a rectangle a trapezoid?
The answer to is a rectangle a trapezoid will depend on which definition, exclusive or inclusive, you are using. First, let’s look at the definition of a rectangle. A rectangle is a closed figure with four straight sides and four right angles in which the opposite (parallel) sides are equal in length.
So, based on that, is a rectangle a trapezoid? Again, it could be if you’re using the inclusive definition because a trapezoid could have two sets of parallel sides and it could have right (90 degree) angles.
Is a square a trapezoid?
Let’s start with the definition of a square. A square is a quadrilateral with four equal sides, four equal 90 degree angles, and opposite sides that are parallel. So is a square a trapezoid?
Not to sound like a broken record, but again, the answer to is a square a trapezoid will depend on whether or not you’re using the inclusive definition. If you are using the inclusive definition, the answer is that a trapezoid could be a square. if you’re using the exclusive definition the answer is no because a square has two sets of parallel sides.
Is a trapezoid a polygon?
A polygon is a two-dimensional, closed shape that has at least three sides and three angles. This means that the answer to is a trapezoid a polygon is yes!
(And the answer to is a trapezoid a polygon is yes no matter which definition, exclusive or inclusive, you’re using!)
Whew! A trapezoid could be many different things, right? If you’re having trouble picturing this magical shape-shifting shape, scroll down for a trapezoid example!
Download the Printable Trapezoid Shape
Who knew that trapezoids could be as controversial as pop stars, right? 😉 In fact, I bet that in some circles the debate over inclusive vs. exclusive definition gets as heated as political debates! Luckily, we’re moving on to the math crunching portion of the post.
But first, be sure to snag the printable trapezoid template below. Not only does it demonstrate what does a trapezoid look like with a picture of a trapezoid, it can also be a great trapezoid example of some of the math concepts we’re about to go over.
Bonus: Were you thinking all this picture of a trapezoid is missing is a little color? No problem, let me brighten your day (literally) with this pre-colored free trapezoid template printable.
How Many Lines of Symmetry Does a Trapezoid Have
Before we get to how many lines of symmetry does a trapezoid have, let’s define what a “line of symmetry is.”
So the answer to how many lines of symmetry does a trapezoid have is it depends on what the trapezoid looks like … and yes, on what definition you’re using.
For example, if you’re using the inclusive definition a trapezoid could be a square, and squares have 4 lines of symmetry. If you’re using the exclusive definition the trapezoid would have either 1 line of symmetry (for an isosceles trapezoid) or 0 lines of symmetry.
A line of symmetry is a line that cuts a shape perfectly in half, meaning that if you were to fold the shape along that line both halves would match exactly.
For younger kids, these printable trapezoid tracing worksheets may be more their speed.
How to Find the Perimeter of a Trapezoid
If you’re feeling a little nervous about the math portion of this post, take a deep breath. We’re going to start with something simple—the trapezoid formula for finding perimeter. Wait, don’t panic! I know when words like “formula” start getting thrown around it can be pretty scary, but this “formula” is so easy.
When we refer to the perimeter of something, all we’re talking about is the measurement of the outside of the shape. That means for how to find the perimeter of a trapezoid all you have to do is add up the measurement of all four sides. Yep, that’s it, basic addition!
The trapezoid formula for finding the perimeter would look something like this:
Perimeter = a + b + c + d
In that formula, a, b, c, and d represent the four sides of the trapezoid.
Typically, you would be given a trapezoid image that has all of the side measurements written on it. Then you would just add them up. For a more difficult problem you might be given an isosceles trapezoid that only has the measurement for three sides, but that’s okay! Why? Because we know that in an isosceles trapezoid, two of the sides are equal in length.
Tip: That formula will work for finding the perimeter of any four-sided shape; however, remember, if you’re dealing with a square, all four sides are equal and with a rectangle the two opposite sides are equal in length.
How to Find the Area of a Trapezoid
What is the area of a trapezoid? Well, when we talk about area, we’re talking about the total space an object (like a trapezoid) is occupying. So, the perimeter is the outside measurement and the area is the total inside space being occupied. If you’re looking at the colored trapezoid image printable, the part that is colored in is the area.
While the area of trapezoid equation might seem intimidating, unless you are dealing with very large numbers or perhaps decimals, you can most likely solve it by hand. That’s right, no calculator needed! I believe in you! 😉
Tip: The area of trapezoid equation I’m going to share with you in this section on how to find the area of a trapezoid is for exclusive definition trapezoids. No, I’m not taking sides here. There are just other (probably easier) formulas you can use to find the area of a square or rectangle. Again, this section is specifically on how do you find the area of a trapezoid!
For the trapezoid area formula, you will need to know the measurement of the two bases (so the top and bottom lines of the trapezoid) and the height of the trapezoid, also known as the “altitude.” Once you have looked at your picture of a trapezoid and have those measurements, you are ready to deploy the trapezoid area formula!
What is the formula for the area of a trapezoid?
Area = ((a + b) / 2) * h
Don’t panic! Let’s break down this area of trapezoid equation. In the formula, “a” and “b” are the measurement of your two bases and “h” is the height (or altitude) of the trapezoid.
For how to calculate the area of a trapezoid, you will need to remember your order of operations. When solving math problems you want to do things in this order:
- Multiplication or Division
- Addition or Subtraction
That means for how do you find the area of a trapezoid, you’re going to do things in this order:
- Add “a” and “b” (the measurement of your two bases) together. This is because they are in parentheses.
- Divide the sum of “a” + “b” by 2.
- Multiply the resulting number by “h”
Guess what? You now not only know what is the formula for the area of a trapezoid but how to calculate the area of a trapezoid!
What is the Volume of Trapezoids
Technically, the answer to what is the volume of trapezoids or what is the formula for a trapezoid’s volume, is “not applicable.” (Although you probably shouldn’t write that on your kid’s homework!) That’s because trapezoids are two dimensional figures and the concept of volume applies to three dimensional objects.
Look at your trapezoid image. It’s flat, right? It couldn’t hold anything … therefore, it has no volume.
However you could answer the question “what is the formula for a trapezoidal prism’s volume.” The formula calls for you to find the area of the base, which is exactly the same as finding the area of the trapezoid (see previous section) and then multiplying that number by the length of the prism.
So, remember, if someone asks you “what is the formula for a trapezoid’s volume”, what they really need is the formula for finding the volume of a trapezoidal prism!
Free Printable 2D Shapes
Ready to talk about some less controversial shapes? If so, here are more printable 2D shapes you can download right now!
Or if a specific shape caught your eye you can download it here:
- Octagon Shape
- Square Shape
- Hexagon Shape
- Circle Shape
- Rectangle Shape
- Pentagon Shape
- Oval Shape
- Diamond Shape
- Triangle Shape
Coloring Pages Beyond the Printable Trapezoid Shape
Has all of the trapezoid controversy got you tied up in knots? Unwind with a coloring sheet! Coloring can produce a state of relaxation similar to meditating. Here are some free downloads:
Letter and Number Printables
Use these letter and number printables to make your homemade matching game:
- Free Printable Alphabet Calligraphy Letters or if it’s more your style a modern calligraphy alphabet.
- Printable number templates including bubble numbers from 0 to 100 and a free printable number stencils set.
Even More Templates
Stay crafty and creative with even more free printable templates!
How to Draw A Trapezoid
Wondering how to draw a trapezoid? Try one of these two options:
- Break out your ruler and carefully draw a trapezoid by measuring out your lines to ensure they’re straight and that at least one set (uh-oh more controversy!) is parallel.
- Snag the printable trapezoid shape from this post and trace it! (Check out the video in this post for an example; while the video focuses on how to draw bubble letters, the concept is the same for how to draw a trapezoid.)