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Mathematics education began with counting. In the beginning, fingers, beans and buttons were used to help with counting, but these are only practical for small numbers. What happens when a large number of items must be counted?

This chapter focuses on how to use mathematical techniques to count combinations of items.


An important aspect of probability theory is the ability to determine the total number of possible outcomes when multiple events are considered.

For example, what is the total number of possible outcomes when a die is rolled and then a coin is tossed? The roll of a die has six possible outcomes (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6) and the toss of a coin, 2 outcomes (head or tails). Counting the possible outcomes can be tedious.

Making a list

The simplest method of counting the total number of outcomes is by making a list:

1H, 1T, 2H, 2T, 3H, 3T, 4H, 4T, 5H, 5T, 6H, 6T

or drawing up a table:

die coin
1 H
1 T
2 H
2 T
3 H
3 T
4 H
4 T
5 H
5 T
6 H
6 T

Both these methods result in 12 possible outcomes, but both these methods have a lot of repetition. Maybe there is a smarter way to write down the result?

Tree diagrams

One method of eliminating some of the repetition is to use tree diagrams . Tree diagrams are a graphical method of listing all possible combinations of events from a random experiment.

Example of a tree diagram. Each possible outcome is a branch of the tree.


The factorial notation

For an integer n , the notation n ! (read n factorial) represents:

n × ( n - 1 ) × ( n - 2 ) × ... × 3 × 2 × 1

with the following definition: 0 ! = 1 .

The factorial notation will be used often in this chapter.

Questions & Answers

anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 12 maths. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11242/1.2
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