NKC Jumbled Jets Text

A group of young, animated characters against a colorful background with the words NASA Kids' Club

Jumbled Jets

Airplanes are lined up on the airport runway. You must decide the order in which they take off. They are all yellow, red, purple, blue or green. Five airplanes will take off from the runway. They must be in exact order.

There are 3,125 different ways to arrange these airplanes. To find the number of choices use multiplication. There are five airplanes with five color choices. 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 = 3,125.

Two airplanes with six color choices would have 36 different orders by color. 6 x 6 = 36.

Three airplanes with four color choices would have 64 different orders by color. 4 x 4 x 4 = 64.

Try these:
1. There are two orange airplanes and two purple airplanes. How many pairs can you make?

2. There are three blue airplanes, three red airplanes and three green airplanes. How many groups of three can you make?

1. There are four possible pairs of orange and purple airplanes, 2 x 2 = 4. That would be: orange-orange, purple-purple, orange-purple and purple-orange.

2. There are 27 possible sets of three, 3 x 3 x 3 = 27. That would be: red-red-red, red-red-blue, red-blue-blue, red-blue-green, red-green-green, red-green-blue, red-blue-red, red-green-red, red-red-green, blue-blue-blue, blue-blue-red, blue-red-red, blue-red-green, blue-green-green, blue-green-red, blue-green-blue, blue-red-blue, blue-blue-green, green-green-green, green-green-red, green-red-red, green-red-blue, green-blue-blue, green-blue-red, green-blue-green, green-red-green and green-green-blue.

Page Last Updated: January 21st, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator