Basic Counting Principle
Basic Counting Principle: Learn
The Basic or Fundamental Counting Principle can be used determine the number of possible outcomes when there are two or more characteristics which can vary.
Example: Ice cream comes in either a cup or a cone and the flavors available are chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.

Vanilla
 Vanilla Cone
 Vanilla Cup

Chocolate
 Chocolate Cone
 Chocolate Cup

Strawberry
 Strawberry Cone
 Strawberry Cup
The diagram above is called a tree diagram and shows all of the possibilities. The tree diagram could also be arranged in another way. Both diagrams have 6 total outcomes.

Cone
 Vanilla Cone
 Chocolate Cone
 Strawberry Cone

Cup
 Vanilla Cup
 Chocolate Cup
 Strawberry Cup
To determine the total number of outcomes, multiply the number of possibilities of the first characteristic times the number of possibilities of the second characteristic. In the example above, multiply 3 times 2 to get 6 possible outcomes.
If there are more than two characteristics, continue to multiply the possibilities together to determine the total outcomes.
Basic Counting Principle: Practice
Find the total possible outcomes.
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