How to Draw Mario on the TI-Nspire

A few months back I had some time on my hands and did a post on how to graph Mickey Mouse with the TI-Nspire. Today I found myself in the same situation and decided to try my hand with the classic Nintendo character Mario on the Nspire. I imposed the same rules on myself as before, the goal was to plot using only functions/equations/relations available on the Nspire’s graphing menu and restricted domains. This means I would have access to conic sections, functions (parabolas, lines, and other functions), but not the freehand drawing of points and lines that the Nspire offers, which is more limiting.  However it is also more precise and teaches more about how the equations can be transformed if you ever try to do something similar with students.

Not every corner or cusp is a perfect intersection since I was just trying to make a rough sketch, but this should give you the idea. Here’s the general approach I took for plotting Mario:

I started by shifting the axes down by 2. Of course, this isn’t necessary, but I like to orient the center of the face on the origin, and Mario’s big hat makes this shift helpful.

Add the nose and outline of the eyes. These were created with the ellipse templates available in the equation templates, as were many of the conics that follow.

Next, I add the start of the Mario’s mustache and smile with parabolas. These were created with the standard function and using restricted domains.

Now I add a chin and jaw using more restricted domain functions, another parabola and lines and complete the mustache and mouth.

The ears and eyebrows are added via pairs of parabolas and ellipses.

A series of parabolas via restricted domains form the outline of Mario’s hat.

You can’t draw Mario without his distinctive M, a series of piecewise line segments inside a circle.

A few more line segments complete the hat and his hair.

A few additional ellipses and circles at the remaining details to Mario’s eyes.

Finally, hide the axes to get a good look at Mario.

Click here to get the .tns file to see Mario on your TI-Nspire.

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Lucas Allen

Lucas Allen

For more than a decade, Lucas Allen was a high school math teacher and math team coach in Illinois. His 2012 Morton High School math team won the Illinois state championship. Recently, he made the jump from public education to the corporate world and is now working as a data scientist. He is interested in just about all forms of technology, including the TI-Nspire, Nexus devices, R, MOOCs, and more. You can follow , and if you are nice, he will probably follow you back.

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