Draw Curves with Straight Lines 
In this activity you will use straight lines to draw beautiful curved shapes with a simple mathematical mapping process.
Mapping is used many fields of in mathematics, including in the design of metamaterials (special materials with properties not found in nature). At its simplest, mapping is a way of assigning each object in a set to an object in another set using some kind of transformation. The objects can be drawn with connecting lines or arrows. Find out more about mapping here.
In this activity you can draw curved shapes called epicycloids by using simple multiplication to connect points around a circle.
In this activity you can draw curved shapes called epicycloids by using simple multiplication to connect points around a circle.
What is an Epicycloid?
If we roll a circle around the circumference of another circle, the shape traced by a point on the moving circle is an epicycloid.
The type of epicycloid depends on the relative sizes of the circles:
If the circles are the same size, we get a squashed heart shape called a cardioid (the name comes from the Greek kardia, meaning heart)

If the rolling circle is half the diameter of the fixed one, we get a nephroid (from the Greek nephros, meaning kidney).

Here is the shape we get if the diameter of the rolling circle is one third the diameter of the fixed.

These shapes occur in nature: many leaves have a heartlike cardioid shape. Next time you have a cup of tea, you might notice a cardioid or nephroid appear in the light reflecting on the surface! In sound engineering, cardioid microphones pick up sound in a cardioid shape, taking more sound from the front and sides than from behind.
How to Draw a Cardioid
You will need a ruler, coloured pens or pencils and the template you can download here:

Other Epicycloids
Try using different multiples for the mapping. Multiplying by 3 gives a nephroid. What happens with higher multiples?
Try using different multiples for the mapping. Multiplying by 3 gives a nephroid. What happens with higher multiples?
Learn More
 This video shows you how to code a cardioid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bl3nc_a1nvs
 Times Tables, Mandelbrot and the Heart of Mathematics (this video has a beautiful animation of epicycloids): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhbuKbxJsk8
 Modular arithmetic: https://nrich.maths.org/4350
 Cardioids in coffee cups: http://chalkdustmagazine.com/features/cardioidscoffeecups/
 Mapping: https://www.mathonlymath.com/functionsormapping.html