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# What is a Pyramid?

Article Details
• Written By: Mary Elizabeth
• Edited By: Niki Foster
• Images By: n/a, Nemar74, Tatty, n/a, Hartmut Lerch
2003-2018
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Mathematics. Pyramids are one of the fundamental solids used in Euclidean geometry. There are three elements required to make a pyramid. It is a

• 3-dimensional figure with
• triangular side faces that meet at a common vertex, with
• a polygon base.

Pyramids are classified by the shape of their base. A triangular pyramid has a triangular base and three triangular side faces. A square pyramid has a square base and four triangular sides. A pentagonal pyramid has a pentagonal base and five triangular sides. A hexagonal pyramid has a hexagonal base and six triangular sides, and so on.

Pyramids are referred to as n-sided, where n is the number of sides of the polygon that forms the base. An n-sided pyramid has n triangular faces.

Architecture. Pyramids are also a shape favored for architectural construction, both ancient and modern. The ancient cultures that built pyramids include Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, several Mesoamerican cultures, China, and Rome. In Egypt, where pyramids were used in funeral complexes, two types – step pyramids and “true" pyramids - were both built. In Mesopotamia, the type of pyramid built was the ziggurat, a temple with terraced stories. Many Chinese pyramids, used as burial monuments, have flat tops.

Cheerleading. The pyramid is also one of the fundamental cheerleading structures, and allows for endless variations. The World Cheerleading Association (WCA), which includes pyramids/basket tosses as one of the six technical skills scoring categories, issues General Safety Guidelines with rules for the use of pyramids in competition. There are six competition levels, and special rules for what kinds of pyramids are allowed at each level. Pyramids may be 2, 2½, or 3 persons high, but for WCA competition, the limit is 2½ persons high at Level Six.

There are three types of roles in cheerleading pyramids: bases, spotters, and flyers. Bases form the foundation for the flyers to mount on. Spotters may be simply standing by to assist, support, or catch someone in case of need, or may also brace the stunt.