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'Beelines' printed from http://nrich.maths.org/

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Take a look at the video below:



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If I choose the point (5,5) and draw a line segment joining the point to the origin, my line passes through 5 grid squares.
If I choose the point (4,3) and draw a line segment joining the point to the origin, my line passes through 6 grid squares.
If I choose the point (6,4) and draw a line segment joining the point to the origin, my line passes through 8 grid squares.


If you know the coordinates of the point at the end of the line, are you able to predict how many squares the line will pass through?

If I drew the line joining the origin to the point (50,37) how many grid squares will it pass through? How can you be sure without drawing it?

If I drew the line joining the origin to the point (96,72) how many grid squares will it pass through? How can you be sure without drawing it?

Can you work out how many grid squares a line passes through, if you are given the coordinates of the two endpoints?

You could also investigate the number of grid lines crossed...


Notes and Background

Working out which grid squares a straight line crosses allows you to create algorithms for drawing straight lines on a computer, where each pixel is a grid square. Read more about line drawing algorithms here.