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College Algebra
 
Tutorial 54:The Binomial Theorem
 
Learning Objectives
 After completing this tutorial, you should be able to:1.Evaluate a factorial.2.Find a binomial coefficient.3.Use the Binomial Theorem to expand a binomial raised to a power.4.Find the rth term of a binomial expansion.
Introduction
 In this tutorial we will mainly be going over the Binomial Theorem. To get tothat point I will first be showing you what a factorial is. This is needed tocomplete problems in this section. This will lead us into the concept of finding a binomial coefficient, which incorporates factorials into it's formula. From therewe will put it together into the Binomial Theorem. This theorem gives us aformula that enables us to find the expansion of a binomial raised to a power,without having to multiply the whole thing out. This theorem incorporates the binomial coefficient formula. You will see that everything in this tutorialintertwines. I think that you are ready to move ahead. 
Tutorial
 
 
Factorial
 
!
 The factorial symbol is the exclamation point: !So if I wanted to write 7 factorial it would be written as 7!.
In general, n! = n(n - 1)(n - 2)(n - 3)...(1)
 
Most, (if not all), of you will have a factorial key on your calculator. Itlooks like this: !
 
If you have a graphing calculator, it will be hidden under the MATH menuscreen and then select your Probability screen - there you should find !
 Some calculators don’t have one, so I will show you how to simplify the problems in case you don’t have that key on your calculator.
0! Has a special definition attached with it. 0! = 1
 
Example 1
: Find 7! If you have a ! key on your calculator you simply press 7 and then ! andin some cases you may have to also press your enter or = key.If you don’t have this key you will have to enter the definition in asfollows:7! = (7)(6)(5)(4)(3)(2)(1) = 5040
Either way 7! = 5040.
 We needed to know about factorials because it is used in the formula for  binomial coefficients, which is our next topic.
 
 
Binomial Coefficient
 
For nonnegative integers
n
and
, with
n
>
 
,a binomial coefficient is defined by
 This formula can be used to find the coefficient of various terms of a binomialthat has been expanded. Believe it or not, it can save you a lot of time if you areneeding to know what polynomial you get if you raise a binomial to a large power. It can be very time consuming and cumbersome to multiply out a binomial that is raised to the 6th, 10th, 20th power, etc... This formula is goingto lead us into Binomial Theorem which gives us a shortcut way of expanding a binomial. 
Example 2
: Evaluate the binomial coefficient . Looks like we are going to need to use the definition of a
to help us out on this.
Looking at the definition of binomial coefficient, what is
n
?
 If you said 20, you are correct!!!
n
is the top number, which in thiscase is 20.
Looking at the definition of binomial coefficient, what is
?
 If you said 3, give yourself a pat on the back!!!!
is the bottomnumber, which in this case is 3.

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