Finding Prime in Family Time

The Incredibles prove that there’s strength in numbers! Image credit: Pixar

The Incredibles is a movie about a family of superheroes and how they overcome problems of epic proportions. Mr. Incredible battles crime on a daily basis. Little does he know, a single fan will become his greatest enemy.

Buddy Pine, a.k.a. Incrediboy, is Mr. Incredible’s biggest admirer. He wants to be just like Mr. Incredible. He wants to dress like Mr. Incredible, speak like Mr. Incredible, and fight crime with Mr. Incredible. However, Buddy is crestfallen when Mr. Incredible says no to the idea of a sidekick, telling Buddy that he prefers to work alone.

Buddy does not understand why Mr. Incredible won’t work together. Image credit: Youtube

This causes Buddy’s anger to grow over the years. 15 years later, he emerges as Syndrome, a super villain with gadgets to battle Mr. Incredible’s super powers. Syndrome’s master plan is to get rid of all existing superheroes, so that he can attack the world while pretending to save it single-handedly.

To defeat Syndrome, Mr. Incredible and his family must divide and conquer. Image credit:

Syndrome unleashes his killer robot, the Omnidroid. Though the Omnidroid is impressively tough to defeat, Mr. Incredible swiftly discovers that the only thing that can destroy the robot is itself. Hence, Mr. Incredible makes the Omnidroid attack itself until its core is ripped and broken apart.

The Omnidroid is about to be taken down in its prime. Image credit:

Did you know that some numbers also prefer to work alone? In mathematics, we call these prime numbers. A prime number is a number above 1 that can only be divided by 1 or itself. For instance, 5 can only be divided exactly by 1 or 5. If you tried to divide 5, the answer will not be a whole number. In other words, the answer must not include fractions.

1 x 5 = 5

What about the numbers that DO like working together with other numbers? These numbers are called composites, and they CAN be divided by numbers other than 1 and itself. A great example of a composite number is 6. 6 can be divided by 1, 2, and 3, all of which are whole numbers.

1 x 6 = 6

2 x 3 = 6

Are there are other numbers that you suspect are primes? Let’s try the number 7. Can 7 be divided into full numbers? Does 2 x 2 make 7? No, that makes 4. What about 2 x 3? From the above, we know that 2 x 3 makes 6. Hence, that doesn’t work either. Perhaps 4 x 2 might do the trick? Well, that clearly results in a number higher than 7, so the answer is 8 and a definite no. Therefore, it looks like 7 is, indeed, a prime number!

1 x 7 = 7

But wait… What about 1? Since 1 is always present and cannot be made out of any other numbers combined, does that make 1 a prime number? No. Both 0 and 1 are not considered prime nor composite numbers. They are both neutral numbers.

What about 8? Is 8 a prime number? Are there any full numbers that make up the number 8? Yes, there are!

1 x 8 = 8

2 x 4 = 8

Based on the above example, we know that 1, 2, and 4 all make the number 8. This makes 8 a composite and not a prime number.

So what have we learned from The Incredibles? It doesn’t matter if you’re a prime or composite, there’s strength in numbers working together!


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