Super Mario – Super Pear Deck

One of my favourite 3 act math tasks is Super Mario from Nora Oswald. I’ll be teaching it a few times this semester and here is our plan….

Act 1: Show the video…

Instead of showing right to the end we are going to pause it right here….

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 8.39.00 PM

At this point we’ll generate questions, wonder things while being curious.  If we pause here some will want to know where he lands….then we should wonder how many points he’ll get. So let’s tackle those… first estimating. Cue…PearDeck!


Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 8.52.41 PM

You’re right, it’s blurry.


Students use the draggable point to place where they think Mario will land. Have a discussion on parabolas/quadratics (other lesson).

Play the rest of the video……and then show this slide on PearDeck.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 9.27.07 PM


Not only do we want students to guess how many points Mario should get……let’s get them to fill in the point distribution. Should it go up “evenly” or “rapidly”. Fill in the points along the scale.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 9.36.48 PM Act 2:

Develop the idea that the points depends on the height of the pole. Students should ask for the distances…….have them measure. Hand out this to use with rulers

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 8.40.41 PM


They then use the Desmos file to test out different models. Have them go through fitting curves for linear, quadratic, and exponential models. After fitting THEIR best curves, have them use the regression built into Desmos.


Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 9.10.06 PM

Click here to go to this desmos page

They should develop an estimate for the points for each model…..then make a decision on what Nintendo did. Back to PearDeck:

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 9.07.31 PM


Use the draggable dot to have students pick…..discuss the idea that Nintendo may have decided on something else altogether. Have them input their choices and NEW estimates.Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 9.06.56 PM


Finally let’s reveal the answer…..what did Nintendo really do?

Act 3: Final Answer

Thanks Nora…..great video and problem.

Next steps…..try Modelling with Clash of Clans or Penny Circle from Desmos.

PearDeck File – Super Mario

Desmos Page  – Super Mario

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One thought on “Super Mario – Super Pear Deck

  1. Lorraine

    This was fantastic Jon. Do you have ideas of how we can use it for Technology. I teach animations, MSPowerpoint. Web page design. Just curious if you have any ideas

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