# Using Permutations and Combinations to Compute Probabilities

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2 3. For each of the following, indicate if it is a problem involving permutations, combinations, or neither, and then answer the question posed. Explain your reasoning. a. How many groups of five songs can be chosen from a list of songs? Combination; the order of the songs is not important; =, b. How many ways can a person choose three different desserts from a dessert tray of eight desserts? Combination; the order of the desserts is not important; = c. How many ways can a manager of a baseball team choose the lead-off batter and second batter from a baseball team of nine players? Permutation; the order of the batters is important; = d. How many ways are there to place seven distinct pieces of art in a row? Permutation; the order of each piece of art is important; or! =, e. How many ways are there to randomly select four balls without replacement from a container of balls numbered to? Combination; the order of the balls is not important; =, 4. The manager of a large store that sells TV sets wants to set up a display of all the different TV sets that they sell. The manager has seven different TVs that have screen sizes between and inches, nine that have screen sizes between and inches, and twelve that have screen sizes of inches or greater. a. In how many ways can the manager arrange the inch TV sets?! =, b. In how many ways can the manager arrange the -inch or greater TV sets?! =,, c. In how many ways can the manager arrange all the TV sets if he is concerned about the order they were placed in?!. Consider demonstrating Exercise 5. Place seven slips of paper in a jar or bag numbered 1 to 7. Draw out two slips, recording the order of the digits drawn. Discuss with students possible outcomes of selecting the slips. Before proceeding with the rest of the exercise, also make sure that students can suggest a way to organize the outcomes. It is not necessary to have an organized list of the outcomes to answer the questions. It is important, however, that students are able to describe a way to generate the list. If students have problems explaining a process, review with them some of the exercises in the previous lessons in which they organized the outcomes using strategic lists or trees. 50

3 5. Seven slips of paper with the digits to are placed in a large jar. After thoroughly mixing the slips of paper, two slips are picked without replacement, a. Explain the difference between 72 and 72 in terms of the digits selected. 72 is the number of permutations of picking two slips from the seven slips of paper. The value of 72 is the number of ways that the two slips can be picked from the seven slips of paper in which the order of the digits is important. For example, if the digit is picked first and the digit is picked second, then is considered a different outcome than if is picked first and is picked second, or. 72 is the combination of picking two slips from the seven slips. It represents the total number of ways two digits can be selected in which order does not matter. Therefore, and are not counted as different outcomes. b. Describe a situation in which is the total number of outcomes. Answers will vary. One example could be similar to the following: Seven students from your school are eligible to participate in a tennis competition; however, only one student can compete, with one other student designated as a backup. (The backup will compete if the first student is injured or unable to attend.) 72 represents how many different pairings of the seven students could be selected for the competition. c. Describe a situation in which is the total number of outcomes. Answers will vary. One example that could be developed by students is the following: Two students from seven eligible students will receive a prize. Each person is assigned a number from to (with no duplicates). Their numbers are placed in the jar. Two slips are drawn. The students assigned to the selected digits are the winners and will receive the prizes. represents the number of ways two people from the group of seven students could win the prizes. d. What is the relationship between 72 and 72? =! 6. If you know nk, and you also know the value of and, how could you find the value of nk? Explain your answer. The following steps show the relation to be the value of the combination and the permutation:! Recall that nk =.!()! Multiply each side of the above equation by!, or! nk =! ()!.! is nk, therefore: ()!! nk = nk. 51

4 Example 1 (6 minutes): Calculating Probabilities MP.3 In this example, students calculate probabilities using combinations and permutations. Students engage in problem solving as a form of argument and need to understand the question asked and how to distinguish between a combination and a permutation as they analyze the situation. Consider beginning the example by asking students to attempt to solve the problem on their own before encouraging them to collaborate; then, discuss answers as a class. Example 1: Calcualting Probabilites In a high school there are math teachers. The principal wants to form a committee by selecting three math teachers random. If Mr. H, Ms. B, and Ms. J are among the group of math teachers, what is the probability that all three of them will be on the committee? Because every different committee of is equally likely, P(these three math teachers will be on the commitee) = number of ways Mr. H, Ms. B, and Ms. J can be selected total number of 3 math teacher committees that can be formed The total number of possible committees is the number of ways that three math teachers can be chosen from math teachers, which is the number of combinations of math teachers taken at a time or 10C3 =. Mr. H, Ms. B, and Ms. J form one of these selections. The probability that the committee will consist of Mr. H, Ms. B, and Ms. J is. Before students begin work on the next set of exercises, have them discuss the following with a partner: How did combinations or permutations help us to answer the question? The probability of this event is based on equally likely outcomes. We needed to determine how many ways three teachers could be selected from ten teachers. Since order did not matter, we could use a combination to help us determine the number of ways. Exercises 7 9 (7 minutes) MP.1 Students should work in small groups (2 or 3 students per group). Allow about 7 minutes for students to complete the exercises. Exercise 7 references the problem introduced in Exercise 1. In these exercises, students must make sense of the situation presented and determine whether a combination or permutation is needed in order to calculate probabilities. When students have finished answering the questions, discuss the answers. You may need to remind students how the calculator expresses an answer in scientific notation. 52

8 Closing (2 minutes) Explain how permutations and combinations can aid in calculating probabilities. Permutations and combinations can help us determine how many outcomes there are for an event, which can be used to calculate the probability. Ask students to summarize the key ideas of the lesson in writing or by talking to a neighbor. Use this as an opportunity to informally assess student understanding. The lesson summary provides some of the key ideas from the lesson. Lesson Summary The number of permutations of things taken at a time is n k =! ()!. The number of combinations of items selected from a set of distinct items is n k = n k! or n k =!!!. Permutations and combinations can be used to calculate probabilities. Exit Ticket (5 minutes) 56

9 Name Date Using Permutations and Combinations to Compute Probabilities Exit Ticket 1. An ice-cream shop has 25 different flavors of ice cream. For each of the following, indicate whether it is a problem that involves permutations, combinations, or neither. a. What is the number of different 3-scoop ice-cream cones that are possible if all three scoops are different flavors, and a cone with vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate is different from a cone with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry? b. What is the number of different 3-scoop ice-cream cones that are possible if all three scoops are different flavors, and a cone with vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate is considered the same as a cone with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry? c. What is the number of different ice-cream cones if all three scoops could be the same, and the order of the flavors is important? 2. A train consists of an engine at the front, a caboose at the rear, and 27 boxcars that are numbered from 1 to 27. a. How many different orders are there for cars that make up the train? b. If the cars are attached to the train in a random order, what is the probability that the boxcars are in numerical order from 1 to 27? 57

10 3. The dance club at school has 22 members. The dance coach wants to send four members to a special training on new dance routines. a. The dance coach will select four dancers to go to the special training. Is the number of ways to select four dancers a permutation, a combination, or neither? Explain your answer. b. If the dance coach chooses at random, how would you determine the probability of selecting dancers Laura, Matthew, Lakiesha, and Santos? 58

11 Exit Ticket Sample Solutions Note: The Exit Ticket does not contain problems similar to Example 2 or Exercises An ice-cream shop has different flavors of ice cream. For each of the following, indicate whether it is a problem that involves permutations, combinations, or neither. a. What is the number of different -scoop ice-cream cones that are possible if all three scoops are different flavors, and a cone with vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate is different from a cone with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. Permutation b. What is the number of different -scoop ice-cream cones that are possible if all three scoops are different flavors, and a cone with vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate is considered the same as a cone with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. Combination c. What is the number of different ice-cream cones if all three scoops could be the same, and the order of the flavors is important? Neither; =, 2. A train consists of an engine at the front, a caboose at the rear, and boxcars that are numbered from to. a. How many different orders are there for cars that make up the train?! b. If the cars are attached to the train in a random order, what is the probability that the boxcars are in numerical order from to?.! 3. The dance club at school has members. The dance coach wants to send four members to a special training on new dance routines. a. The dance coach will select four dancers to go to the special training. Is the number of ways to select four dancers a permutation, a combination, or neither? Explain your answer. The order of the dancers is not important; therefore, the number of ways of selecting four dancers would be a combination of four dancers from possible dancers. b. If the dance coach chooses at random, how would you determine the probability of selecting dancers Laura, Matthew, Lakiesha, and Santos? The probability of selecting one of the combinations would be divided by the total number of combinations. 59

12 Problem Set Sample Solutions If Example 2 and Exercises were not discussed, Problem 6 part (c), 7 part (d), 8 parts (d) and (e), and 9 should not be assigned. 1. For each of the following, indicate whether it is a question that involves permutations, combinations, or neither, and then answer the question posed. Explain your reasoning. a. How many ways can a coach choose two co-captains from players in the basketball team? Combination; order does not matter; 162 = b. In how many ways can seven questions out of ten be chosen on an examination? Combination; the order of the questions does not matter; 107 = c. Find the number of ways that women in the finals of the skateboard street competition can finish first, second, and third in the X Games final. Permutation; the order of the women is important in determining first, second, and third place; 103 = d. A postal zip code contains five digits. How many different zip codes can be made with the digits? Assume a digit can be repeated. Neither; the digits can repeat; =, 2. Four pieces of candy are drawn at random from a bag containing five orange pieces and seven brown pieces. a. How many different ways can four pieces be selected from the colored pieces? 124 = b. How many different ways can two orange pieces be selected from five orange pieces? 52 = c. How many different ways can two brown pieces be selected from seven brown pieces? 72 = 3. Consider the following: a. A game was advertised as having a probability of. of winning. You know that the game involved five cards with a different digit on each card. Describe a possible game involving the cards that would have a probability of. of winning. Answers will vary. One possible answer would be to have the numbers,,,, on the cards. A card is selected at random. If the number is even, you win the game. 60

13 b. A second game involving the same five cards was advertised as having a winning probability of.. Describe a possible game that would have a probability of. or close to. of winning. Answers will again vary. Given that this probability is considerably less than the probability in Exercise 3 part (a), students would be expected to consider games in which more than one card is randomly selected, and the numbers formed from the selections would be involved in winning the game. If they randomly select two cards from the five possible cards, the probability of picking one of the possible -digit numbers without replacement is, or.. Encourage students to experiment with their suggestions by approximating the 72 winning probabilities. 4. You have five people who are your friends on a certain social network. You are related to two of the people, but you do not recall who of the five people are your relatives. You are going to invite two of the five people to a special meeting. If you randomly select two of the five people to invite, explain how you would derive the probability of inviting your relatives to this meeting? The number of ways of picking two people does not involve order. There is only one way I could pick the two relatives, and that would be if my pick involved both relatives. I would divide by the total number of ways I could pick two people from five people, or the combination of picking two out of five. 5. Charlotte is picking out her class ring. She can select from a ruby, an emerald, or an opal stone, and she can also select silver or gold for the metal. a. How many different combinations of one stone and one type of metal can she choose? Explain how you got your answer. I multiplied the number of different stones by the number of different metals. b. If Charlotte selects a stone and a metal at random, what is the probability that she would select a ring with a ruby stone and gold metal? 6. In a lottery, three numbers are chosen from to. You win if the three numbers you pick match the three numbers selected by the lottery machine. a. What is the probability of winning this lottery if the numbers cannot be repeated? 103. b. What is the probability of winning this lottery if the numbers can be repeated? =. c. What is the probability of winning this lottery if you must match the exact order that the lottery machine picked the numbers?

14 7. The store at your school wants to stock t-shirts that come in five sizes (small, medium, large, XL, XXL) and in two colors (orange and black). a. How many different type t-shirts will the store have to stock? b. At the next basketball game, the cheerleaders plan to have a t-shirt toss. If they have one t-shirt of each type in a box and select a shirt at random, what is the probability that the first randomly selected t-shirt is a large orange t-shirt? 8. There are balls in a bag numbered from to. Three balls are selected at random without replacement. a. How many different ways are there of selecting the three balls? 103 = b. What is the probability that one of the balls selected is the number? =. 9. There are nine slips of paper in a bag numbered from to in a bag. Four slips are randomly selected without replacement to form a 4-digit number. a. How many -digit numbers can be formed? 94 =, b. How many -digit numbers start with the digit? 83 = c. What is the probability that the -digit number formed is less than? =. 10. There are fourteen juniors and twenty-three seniors in the Service Club. The club is to send four representatives to the State Conference. a. How many different ways are there to select a group of four students to attend the conference from the Service Club members? 374 =, b. How many are there ways to select exactly two juniors? 142 = c. How many ways are there to select exactly two seniors? 232 = 62

15 d. If the members of the club decide to send two juniors and two seniors, how many different groupings are possible? =, e. What is the probability that two juniors and two seniors are selected to attend the conference? , =., 11. A basketball team of players consists of guards, forwards, and centers. Coach decides to randomly select players to start the game. What is probability of guards, forwards, and center starting the game? A research study was conducted to estimate the number of white perch (a type of fish) in a Midwestern lake. perch were captured and tagged. After they were tagged, the perch were released back into the lake. A scientist involved in the research estimates there are, perch in this lake. Several days after tagging and releasing the fish, the scientist caught perch of which were tagged. If this scientist s estimate about the number of fish in the lake is correct, do you think it was likely to get perch out of with a tag? Explain your answer. Assume the total number of fish was, perch. The probability of getting of perch tagged would be based on the number of ways to get perch from the tagged fish, multiplied by the number of ways of getting perch from the fish that are not tagged, divided by the number of ways of picking fish from, fish. This result is the requested probability, or ( 30020)( 70030) The above probability is approximately.. This is a small probability and not likely to occur. 63

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