There are many things in this world that can be measured, but love is the one true exception. Upside Down is the story about young Riley, a girl with the perfect life. She has the most adoring parents, she has the bestest friend ever, and she has hockey, a hobby that she has developed into a well-trained skill. She also has emotions.
When Riley’s life is turned upside down from the news that her family is moving, Riley’s emotions (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger) run wild. Getting to know a new city is scary, and Riley soon finds herself hating her new life. In an attempt to get things back the way they used to be, Anger encourages Riley to run away from home.
Luckily, Sadness takes over the rest of Riley’s emotions, and allows her to see just how much she will be leaving behind. It is at this moment that Riley realises how much her parents have done for her. They’ve been there through her best days and her worst days. Still, they love her, and their love can only multiple.
Upside Down is a movie that shows us the importance of emotions and family. While Joy tries incredibly hard to keep Riley happy throughout the movie, Joy learns that Sadness is a very important part of Riley’s overall happiness. Without Sadness, there is no balance, and Riley would not be able to cope with the rest of her emotions. When our emotions are uncontrollable, we find ourselves concocting solutions that don’t always work out to be the best. This is why problem-solving skills are an essential aspect of growing up, and is the foundation for understanding mathematics.
With every problem that we face, there is always more than one way to solve them. Problem solving allows us to experience a range of emotions associated with various stages in the solution process. In this movie, we see Riley’s emotions come up with good and bad solutions. For instance, rather than dwell on the news that their belongings are not arriving on time, Joy chooses to keep the positivity up by making Riley start a game of paper hockey with her parents. However, when frustration takes over after a bad day at school, Anger controls Riley’s emotions and makes her take it out on her parents.
When Joy is trapped in the memory dump with Bing Bong, Riley’s lovable imaginary friend, Bing Bong chooses to sacrifice his own freedom to save Joy. He recognises that if both he and Joy were to ride on his magical wagon together, their combined weight would not propel them up and out of the pit. Bing Bong’s love for Riley and his desire for her to be happy overtakes his own need to exist. Therefore, he stays behind to be forgotten.
All these examples show that creative thinking and proper study of a problem is key. But where does math come in? This is where it gets even more interesting!
As mentioned above, there is always more than one way to solve any problem. Let’s say you need to make 2 groups of memory balls out of 10 memory balls. First, we recognize that we have 10 memory balls in total. Second, we use creative thinking to analyse possible solutions. Third, we approach the problem with logic. Fourth, we summarise our thought process. Here are some solutions that you may have thought about:
Division: 10 ÷ 2 = 5
You understand that you need to have 2 groups that will make a total of 10. Dividing 10 by 2 would allow you to determine how many memory balls go into the 2 groups to make 10.
Addition: 5 + 5 = 10
You know that 5 + 5 equals 10, and that would be an easy solution to forming 2 groups that add to a total of 10 memory balls.
Subtraction: 10 – x (any number smaller than 10)
To get 2 groups, you can subtract 10 with any number smaller than 10. For instance, 10-3 would equal 7. This gives you 1 group of 3 memory balls, and 1 group of 7 memory balls.
Multiplication: 2 x 5 = 10
If you’re good with multiplication, you will recognise that 2 x 5 equals 10, which means you have 2 groups of 5 balls that will total up to 10.
Along the way towards coping with her emotions, Riley clearly makes some mistakes. Instead of running away from home, what could Riley have done to overcome her emotions? There are many ways she could cheer herself up. Still, the most crucial decision she makes is to run back home, and share her emotions with her parents. When her parents, the strongest people she knows, console her by telling her that they, too, encounter sadness, Riley learns that it’s okay to be sad. She also finds comfort in knowing that her parents will always be there for her, no matter her emotions.
Hence, if you ever find yourself overwhelmed with emotions, the best solution is in the arms of your parents: Their love for you is immeasurable.