Probability Tree Diagrams

# Probability Tree Diagrams

GCSE(F), GCSE(H),

Probability can be presented using tree diagrams. Each branch of the tree represents an outcome (similar to a frequency tree diagram, but each branch is labelled with a probability, not a frequency).

All outcomes must be shown from each node. For example, a bag of balls contains 4 red balls and 6 blue balls. P(red) = frac(2)(5) and P(blue) = frac(3)(5): If, in the above example, a ball is drawn, replaced and then a second ball is drawn: Multiply the probabilities along branches to calculate the probability of two consecutive events. The probability of drawing two red balls is P(red) x P(red) = frac(2)(5) x frac(2)(5) = frac(4)(25).

Adding the end result each of the routes along the branches gives a probability of 1.

## Examples

1. A bag contains 12 balls. 3 are red and 9 are blue. A ball is drawn at random, and replaced in the bag. A second ball is drawn at random. What is the probability of drawing 2 red balls?

Answer: frac(1)(16)

Draw the probability tree. For two red balls, multiply along the tree:

P(red) x P(red) = frac(3)(12) x frac(3)(12) = frac(9)(144) = frac(1)(16) 2. The experiment is repeated with the same bag. In this instance, the balls are not replaced. By drawing a probability tree, or otherwise, show that the probability of drawing two consecutive balls of the same colour is frac(21)(33).

Answer: Probability of two reds or two blues (note balls are not replaced):

(P(red1) x P(red)2) + (P(blue)1 x P(blue)2)

frac(3)(12) x frac(2)(11) + frac(9)(12) x frac(8)(11) = frac(13)(22) 