## Friday, May 11, 2012

### Problem Solving Strategy: Probability, Counting, Grid

Check out Mathcounts here, the best competition math program for middle school students.

#5 1993 Mathcounts National Target : Find the probability that four randomly selected points on the geoboard below will be the vertices of a square? Express your answer as a common fraction.

#5 2004 AMC 10A: A set of three points is chosen randomly from the grid shown. Each three-point set has the same probability of being chosen. What is the probability that the points lie on the same straight line?

Solution:
#5 National Target: There are 16C4 = (16 x 15 x 14 x 13)/ 4 x 3 x 2 = 1820 ways to select 4 points on the geoboard.

There are 3 x 3 = 9  one by one squares and 2 x 2 = 4 two by two squares and 1 x 1 = 1 three by three squares. (Do you see the pattern?)

There are 4 other squares that have side length of √ 2
and 2 other larger squares that have side length of 5.

9 + 4 + 1 + 4 + 2 = 20 and 20/1820 = 1/91

#5 AMC-10A: There are 9C3 = (9 x 8 x 7) / 3 x 2 x 1 = 84 ways to chose the three dots and 8 of the lines connecting the three dots will form straight lines. (Three verticals, three horizontals and two diagonals.) so
8/84 = 2/21