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Emily Facemyer

Ms. Strong

Secondary math 3 honors

26 April 2018

Pascal’s Triangle

Pascals triangle is a triangular diagram of binomial coefficients. It starts at the top with

row𝑛 = 0. Each row starts and ends with the number 1. To calculate the middle

numbers you take the number above it

and slightly to the left and slightly to the

right and then add the two numbers

together. For example to get the number 3

in row 𝑛 = 3, you would take the number 1 that is above it

and to the left and the number to that is above to the right,

then add them together: 1 + 2 = 3(see example to the left).


Pascal’s triangle is used to find special patterns. For example 112 = 121 which is also

row 𝑛 = 2,or 113 = 1331is also row 𝑛 = 3. This shows that when you take 11 to the same power

as the row number it will equal the numbers that are in the row. You can also use pascal's
6
triangle to find the coefficients of binomial expansions like (𝑎 + 𝑏) . The expanded form of this

is 𝑎 + 𝑎𝑏 + 𝑎𝑏 + 𝑎𝑏 + 𝑎𝑏 + 𝑎𝑏 + 𝑏. To find the coefficients you would first look at row 𝑛 = 6. This

row has the numbers 1, 6, 15, 20, 15, 6, 1. Keeping these numbers in the same order as they

are in pascals triangle, you would write each one in front

the variables. It would look like this,1𝑎 + 6𝑎𝑏 + 15𝑎𝑏 +

20𝑎𝑏 + 15𝑎𝑏 + 6𝑎𝑏 + 1𝑏.Then you just add the

exponents. For exponents on “a”, You start at 6 and go

down to 1. For the exponents on “b”, You start with 1 and

go up to 6. The final product looks like, (𝑎 + 𝑏)6 = 𝑎6 +

6𝑎5 𝑏 + 15𝑎4 𝑏 2 + 20𝑎3 𝑏 3 + 15𝑎2 𝑏 4 + 𝑎𝑏 5 + 𝑏 6 .

Pascal's triangle also relates to the “n choose r” combination that we do in math. You

can find a binomial coefficient without writing Pascals triangle. The equation to find the

𝑛! 𝑛
coefficient is 𝑛𝐶𝑟 = = 𝑟 . You can use the equation to find how many different
(𝑛−𝑟)!𝑟!

combinations there are in a sequence. For example there are 5 blue marbles and 7 red marbles

in a bag, and you pick 3. You can find the different combinations of marbles you pick by typing
12!
9!3!
, or looking at the 12th row of pascal's triangle, and the 4th term. There are 220 different

combinations you could choose. This type of problem with be used in higher math classes and

real life.

This can be used in real life. Say you want to make up a team of 5 people and you have

12 people to choose from. You want to know how many different combinations of these 12

12!
people you can have on a team. So you would use the equation or look at the 6th number
7!5!
on row 12 of pascal's triangle which is 792. You could also determine the chances of having 5

children with 3 girls. That would make the binomial expression (𝑔𝑖𝑟𝑙𝑠(3) + 𝑏𝑜𝑦𝑠(2))5 . You would

look at the 5th row of pascal’s triangle. Then find which one matches the odds, which is 10𝑥 3 𝑦 2 .

Then add the 5th row together, 1 + 5 + 20 + 5 + 1 = 32. Then you take the coefficient of the
10
expression and the sum of all rows divided by each other to find your probability: = 31.25%.
32

You can use Pascal's triangle anytime you want to find out probability.