My Favorite One-Liners: Part 27

In this series, I’m compiling some of the quips and one-liners that I’ll use with my students to hopefully make my lessons more memorable for them.

Here’s an anecdote that I’ll share when teaching students about factorials:

1! = 1

2! = 1 \times 2 = 2

3! = 1 \times 2 \times 3 = 6

4! = 1 \times 2 \times 3 \times 4 = 24

5! = 1 \times 2 \times 3 \times 4 \times 5 = 120

The obvious observation is that the factorials get big very, very quickly.

Here’s my anecdote:

Many years ago, I was writing lesson plans while the TV show “Wheel of Fortune” was on in the background. And the contestant solved the puzzle at the end, and Pat Sajak declared, “You have just won $40,320 in cash in prizes.

So I immediately thought to myself, “Ah, 8 factorial.”

Then I thought, ugh [while slapping myself in the forehead, grimacing, and shaking my head, pretending that I can’t believe that that was the first thought that immediately came to mind].

[Finishing the story:] Not surprisingly, I was still single when this happened.

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