Line Designs for the Computer
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Jill Britton  
Line designs are created by connecting points on lines or curves with straight line segments. When carried out on cardboard with sewing needle and thread, the process is referred to as Curve Stitching or String Art. If the family of straight line segments that comprise a line design are generated by a particular mathematical rule, a classic mathematical curve will be outlined. Each of the line segments will be tangent to the curve in question. Mathematicians refer to the family of line segments as an envelope. By simulating the connection process on a computer, you can explore the different curves (or collection of curves) that can be generated and see what happens when the values of the variables associated with a mathematical rule are changed. In the first edition (1989) of his popular book Curve Stitching, John Millington included programs for the classic Spectrum computer that created line design similar to the curve stitching designs in the book. Jill Britton has been given permission by both Tarquin Publications and John Millington to create the Web page "Line Designs for the Computer," which includes a JAVA emulator allowing the user to run all 33 of the Spectrum programs online; they are primitive, but historically and mathematically interesting.  


Levels:  Middle School (68), High School (912), College 
Languages:  English 
Resource Types:  Manipulatives, Topic Tools Miscellaneous, Web Interactive/Java 
Math Topics:  Patterns/Relationships, Conic Sections and Circles 
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