Originally Posted by

**Unenlightened** I have a question that reads thus:

"Peter tosses a coin four times and records the number X of heads. What are the chances that X=0, X=1, X=2, X=3, X=4?"

I was trying to explain this to a class in a tutorial the other day...

I know there's the formula method, which is probably the best thing to teach them, or the more tedious writing out of all possible outcomes and selecting the appropriate ones, but the class has little mathematical background and I was sure there was a "nicer" explanation, as it were.

I've had a look through the numerous threads here where this question was answered, and I googled elsewhere, but the only methods I found were the two listed above.

Should I just give them the formula and say - "this is how you do it!" without any explanation? Writing out all possible outcomes is clearly not feasible for a greater set of outcomes...

I'm just hoping perhaps that one of the forum members may have a nicer 'explanation' than simply using the formula...