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Jennifer Mendoza

MAT 143
Presentation: Unit 3 #24
24. Three boxes each contain a number of billiard balls. One box contains only even numbered
balls, one box contains only odd numbered billiard balls, and the third box contains a mixture of
odd-and even-numbered balls. All the boxes are mislabeled. By selecting one box from only one
of the boxes, can you correctly label the three boxes? Explain why or why not.
You must choose a box that will provide the most information when a ball is selected.
By choosing the mixed labeled box, you know that whichever ball you select will tell you
whether the box contains all the odd numbered balls or all the even numbered balls since it
cannot be the mixed.
Mislabele
d Odd

Mislabele
d Mixed

Mislabeled
Even

Choose the Mislabeled Mixed box. Scenario #1: The ball selected could be even numbered.
Even
Mislabele
d Mixed

Even

If the ball is even, then the box must contain all the even numbered billiard balls.
Now you only have the mixed and odd options available for correctly labeling the other boxes
since the even option has already been taken. The mislabeled odd box has to be mixed since it is
cannot be odd. This indicates that the mislabeled box even has to be odd.
Options Left: Mixed or Odd
Mislabel
ed Odd

Mixed

Mislabel
ed Even

Odd

Choose Mislabeled box. Scenario #2: The ball selected could be odd numbered.
Odd
Odd

Mislabel
ed
Mixed

If the ball is odd, then the box must contain all the odd numbered billiard balls. Now you only
have the mixed and even options available for correctly labeling the other boxes since the even
option has already been taken. The mislabeled even box has to be mixed since it cannot be even.
This indicates that the mislabeled odd box has to be even.
Options Left: Mixed or Even
Mislabel
ed Even

Mixed

Mislabel
ed Odd

Even

Yes, you can correctly label the other boxes if you just select one ball from one of the boxes. You
should select one ball from the mislabeled mixed box because whatever numbered ball that you
pick out will tell you whether it contains all the even or odd numbered balls. Once you determine
this, you can easily figure out the labels for the other two boxes.
Note: If you were to pick out a ball from the even or odd numbered box it would not be
guaranteed that you would be able to determine the correct labels for all of the boxes no matter
what numbered ball you end up picking out.
Ex. You choose a ball from the mislabeled odd box. Scenario #1 Suppose the ball is odd.
Odd
Mislabele
d Odd

Mixed

If the ball selected is odd, then the box must be mixed since it cannot be odd. Now only the
options of even and odd are available for labeling the other boxes. The mislabeled even box must
be odd since it cannot be even then the mislabeled odd must be even.
Options Available: Even or Odd
Mislabele
d
Even

Odd

Mislabel
ed Odd

Even

Ex. You choose a ball from the mislabeled odd box. Scenario #2: Suppose the ball picked out is
even.
Even
Mislabel
ed Odd

If the ball selected is even, then there is no certainty as to whether the box contains all the even
numbered balls or if the ball is mixed. Therefore, selecting the mislabeled even or odd box will
not guarantee that you will be able to correctly label all the boxes no matter what ball you obtain.
However, selecting the mislabeled mixed box will.

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