Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from anita, a student:

In how many ways can 12 balls be divided between 2 boys, one receiving 5 and the other 7 balls ?

Hi Anita,

Call the boys Bob and Chuck. Suppose Bob is to receive 5 balls and Chuck 7. The number of ways of doing this is the number of ways of choosing 5 balls for 12 balls. This is described by Stephen in an answer to an earlier question. If you also want to include the situation where Bob received 7 balls and Chick 5 you will need to double the answer using Stephens method.


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