gk3.14 wrote:
The high temperature of a summer day on Fire Island is always one of three temperatures: 84, 85 or 86 degrees. If there is an equal chance of each temperature, what is the probability that the median high temperature over a three day period will be 85 degrees?
1) 1/27
2) 2/9
3) 1/3
4) 4/9
5) 13/27
When we are asked to find the median of 3 numbers, we arrange them in increasing order and then pick the middle number.
The median of 85 will be obtained when the temperatures are one of:
{85, 85, 85}
{85, 86, 86}
{84, 85, 85}
{84, 85, 86}
When will the temperatures be {85, 85, 85}?
When every day the high is 85. What is the probability of this happening? 1/3 * 1/3 * 1/3 = 1/27
When will the temperatures be {85, 85, 86}?
When the high is 85 on two days and 86 on another. What is the probability of this happening? Probability of 85 on first day is 1/3. Of 85 on second day is 1/3 and of 86 on third day is 1/3. Probability of this is 1/3 * 1/3 * 1/3 = 1/27. There are other ways in which you can get 85, 85, 86. e.g. 86 on first day, 85 on other two. Another way is 86 on second day and 85 on other two. So basically we are looking for the number of ways in which we can arrange 85, 85, 86 among 3 days. This can be done in 3!/2! = 3 ways.
Probability of getting {85, 85, 86} is 1/27 * 3 = 1/9
Similarly, probability of getting {84, 85, 85} is also 1/9.
Probability of getting {84, 85, 86} will be 1/3 * 1/3 * 1/3 * 3! = 6/27
Total probability of getting median 85 = 1/27 + 1/9 + 1/9 + 6/27 = 13/27