Fundamental Counting Principal

When trying to determine the total number of possible outcomes, it is sometimes hard to create the entire sample space either by organized list or by tree diagram. When this is true, it is helpful to use the fundamental counting principle. The fundamental counting principle states that when the outcomes of two or more events are independent, the total number of outcomes can be determined by multiplying the number of outcomes for each individual event.

Example A sandwich shop offers 5 kinds of bread, 8 types of meat and 6 cheeses. If you choose to make a sandwich with one item from each category, how many total possible sandwiches can you create?

Multiply the total outcomes from each category.

Bread

Meat

Cheese
5
x
8
x
6

There are 240 total possible sandwiches.

To learn more about the fundamental counting principle, select the following link:

Using the Fundamental Counting Principle