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Tree Diagrams

Multiply probabilities along the branches and add probabilities in columns

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Tree Diagrams

Maggie, Sarah and Julie are excited to go on the Ferris wheel. There isn’t any line, and so the friends decide to ride the Ferris wheel multiple times in a row. It is great! The Ferris wheel stops at the top and they can see all across the entire park. Sarah spots their teacher Mrs. Hawk and gives a huge wave. The others join in.

Each seat can only hold two people so the friends take turns sitting with each other. They keep riding the Ferris wheel until everyone has had a chance to sit with everyone else. After the last ride, they get off the ride, a little dizzy, but very happy!

“Wow that was some time!” Maggie says excitedly.

“Yes, but my head is still spinning,” Julie declares.

As they walk away, Chris comes over. When he asks where they have been, they tell him that they have been riding the Ferris wheel.

“How many times did you ride it?” Chris asks.

All three of the friends look at each other. They aren’t sure. It was so exciting to keep riding that they lost count.

“I know we can figure this out mathematically,” Maggie says to the others as she starts to count on her fingers.

Do you know how many times they rode the Ferris wheel? If each friend rode with each other once, how many times did they ride in all? In this Concept, you will learn all about finding outcomes. Pay attention so that you can figure this problem out in the end.

Guidance

When thinking about probability, you think about the chances or the likelihood that an event is going to occur. Calculating probability through a ratio is one way of looking at probability. We can also think about chances or probability through calculating outcomes.

What is an outcome?

An outcome is an end result. When you have multiple options you can calculate an outcome or figure out how many possible outcomes there are. We do this all the time in life and we don’t even realize that we are doing it. Anytime you are trying to organize something with many different pieces or components, you are figuring outcomes.

How can we figure out an outcome?

There are a couple of different ways to do this, and you are going to learn about them in this Concept. The first one that we are going to work with is a tree diagram.

What is a tree diagram?

A tree diagram is a visual way of listing outcomes. You look at the choices for the outcome and the variables that go with each outcome.

Now let's look at one of these.

Jessica has four different favorite types of ice cream. She loves vanilla crunch, black raspberry, chocolate chip and lemonade. She also loves two different types of cones, a plain cone and a sugar cone. Given these flavors and cones choices, how many different single scoop ice cream cones can Jessica create?

To solve this problem, we are going to create a tree diagram.

First, we list the choices of ice cream.

Vanilla Crunch

Black Raspberry

Chocolate Chip

Next we add in the two cone types. Each flavor has two possible cone types that it could go on. This is where the tree diagram part comes in.

Here we have four different flavors, and two types of cones, which means we have 8 possible ice cream cone options.

Did you notice any patterns here?

If you pay close attention, you can see that the number of choices multiplied by the number of variables gave us the total number of outcomes.

4 ×\begin{align*}\times\end{align*} 2 =\begin{align*}=\end{align*} 8

This is called the Fundamental Counting Principle and it can be very useful if you don’t want to draw an elaborate diagram to figure out your options!!

Practice finding outcomes. You may draw a tree diagram or use the Fundamental Counting Principle to answer each question.

Example A

Sarah has three pairs of pants and four shirts. How many different outfits can she create with these choices?

Solution: 12 outfits

Example B

Travis has four different pairs of striped socks and two pairs of sneakers, one red and one blue. How many different shoe/sock combinations can Travis create?

Solution: 8 combinations

Example C

If there are 33 ice cream flavors and two types of cones, how many different single scoop ice cream cones can you create?

Solution: 66 combinations

Now back to the Ferris Wheel.

Here is the original problem once again.

Maggie, Sarah and Julie are excited to go on the Ferris wheel. There isn’t any line, so the friends decide to ride the Ferris wheel multiple times in a row. It is great! The Ferris wheel stops at the top and they can see all across the entire park. Sarah spots their teacher Mrs. Hawk and gives a huge wave. The others join in.

Each seat can only hold two people, so the friends take turns sitting with each other. They keep riding the Ferris wheel until everyone has had a chance to sit with everyone else. After the last ride, they get off the ride, a little dizzy, but very happy!

“Wow that was some time!” Maggie says excitedly.

“Yes, but my head is still spinning,” Julie declares.

As they walk away, Chris comes over. When he asks where they have been, they tell him that they have been riding the Ferris wheel.

“How many times did you ride it?” Chris asks.

All three of the friends look at each other. They aren’t sure. It was so exciting to keep riding that they lost count.

“I know we can figure this out mathematically,” Maggie says to the others as she starts to count on her fingers.

Thinking about tree diagrams, combinations and permutations, how can Maggie figure this out mathematically?

We could use a tree diagram to figure this out. We could also write out all of the combinations.

When order matters, we know that we are going to be searching for a permutation.

In this combination we have three friends sitting two at a time.

C(3,2)=3×2=6\begin{align*}C(3, 2) = 3 \times 2 = 6\end{align*} possible combinations

That means that the friends rode the Ferris wheel SIX times in a row! Wow! No wonder they were dizzy!

Vocabulary

Here are the vocabulary words in this Concept.

Probability
the chances or likelihood that an event will happen.
Outcome
the end result
Tree Diagram
a visual way of showing options and variables in an organized way. The lines of a tree diagram look like branches on a tree.

Guided Practice

Here is one for you to try on your own.

Evaluate C(9,4)\begin{align*}C(9,4)\end{align*}

To figure out the possible number of combinations, we simply multiply.

9×4=36\begin{align*}9 \times 4 = 36\end{align*}

Video Review

Here is a video for review.

Practice

Directions: Design a tree diagram or use the Fundamental Counting Principle to determine each set of outcomes.

1. Jessica has three skirts and four sweaters. How many possible outfits can she arrange given her clothing?

2. Kim loves ice cream. She has the option of vanilla, chocolate or strawberry ice cream and she has different toppings to put on her ice cream cone. If she has sprinkles, hot fudge and nuts to choose from, how many different ice cream cones can she create with those toppings?

3. There are five possible surfboard designs and two possible colors. How many possible surfboards can be created from these options?

4. Team sweatshirts come in four colors and three sizes. How many sweatshirt outcomes are possible?

5. A diner offers six types of toast with either scrambled or fried eggs. How many breakfast options are there?

6. The same diner is offering a special that adds orange or apple juice with the eggs and toast. How many different breakfast options are there now?

7. If the diner adds in coffee as a beverage choice with the other options, how many different breakfast options can you have now?

8. If the diner also adds in a choice of bacon or sausage, how many different breakfast options do you have now?

9. An Italian restaurant offers penne pasta, shells or spaghetti with a choice of vegetable, meat or plain sauce. How many different pasta dishes are possible given these options?

10. If they also offer a choice of Italian bread or garlic bread, how many options are possible?

11. If they add in the choice of a Caesar salad or a tossed salad, how many meal options are there now?

12. If they offer a choice of ice cream or cheesecake with the meal, how many meal options are there now?

13. The Cubs have 3 games left to play this year. How many different outcomes can there be for the three games?

14. Svetlana tosses a coin 4 times in a row. How many outcomes are there for the 4 tosses?

15. For a new tennis racquet, Danny can choose from 8 different brands, 3 different head sizes, and 4 different grip sizes. How many different racquet choices does Danny have?

16. Gina tosses a number cube 3 times. How many different outcomes are possible?

Notes/Highlights Having trouble? Report an issue.

Color Highlighted Text Notes

Vocabulary Language: English

If events A and B are mutually inclusive, then P(A or B) = P(A) + P(B) – P(A and B)

Multiplication Rule

States that for 2 events (A and B), the probability of A and B is given by: P(A and B) = P(A) x P(B).

Outcome

An outcome of a probability experiment is one possible end result.

Probability

Probability is the chance that something will happen. It can be written as a fraction, decimal or percent.

Tree Diagram

A tree diagram is a visual way of showing options and variables. The lines of a tree diagram look like branches on a tree.

tree diagrams

Tree diagrams are a way to show the outcomes of simple probability events where each outcome is represented as a branch on a tree.