CS 150 - Assignment 4 - Math Whiz
Due: Wednesday 3/15 at the beginning of class
***** Extended until Thu 3/16 at 9:00am *****
For this assignment, you are going to be implementing a timed game
where the user answers as many simple math questions as possible in a
given time period.
Generating random equations
Before you start working, make sure that you understand at a
high-level how the game is supposed to be played. The prelab contains
instructions on how to run a working version. We're going to build up
the final version of this program one piece at a time. As you build
each piece, make sure you understand where it fits into the larger
program and make sure it's working correctly before moving on.
The first thing we'll need is the ability to generate a random
equation. Our random equations will contain the operators +,
-, and *. The following pseudocode describes
one way to generate a random equation. (Pseudocode is a way to
describe an algorithm in detail without getting bogged down in
language specifics. It is a compromise between English and code.)
Using this approach, we can generate a random equation with as many
operators as we would like.
- generate a random number between 1 and 10 to start the equation
- for each operator that you want to add on:
- pick a random operator from +, -, * and add it to the equation
- pick a random number between 1 and 10 and add it to the equation
Write a function called random_equation that takes as input a
single parameter, the number of operators to generate in the random
equation, and returns a string representing a random math
equation involving the numbers 1-10 and operators +, -, *.
Here are a few example runs:
Hints: You'll likely need to use some sort of loop structure to get
the repetition (i.e., for or while). Think about
which one is more appropriate here. Also, notice that our equation is
a string, so we'll be building up a string similar to how we did in
the last assignment by appending on new pieces.
'5 - 6 - 7 * 6 * 4'
'3 * 7'
'8 - 5 * 2'
'8 + 7 + 4 - 7 - 2 * 3 * 2 * 4'
Getting an answer
Now that we have an equation, we need to have some way of repeatedly
prompting the user for an answer until that answer is correct.
Before writing any more code, read through this whole section since
I give some hints/advice at the end.
There is a function called eval built into Python that
evaluates any expression represented as a string and returns the value
represented by that expression. We're going to use this function to
figure out what the answer is to our random equation. For example:
Notice that the value that eval returns is an int,
which we would expect. If you're curious, eval can be used
to evaluate more complicated string expressions that include function
>>> eq = random_equation(4)
'7 * 5 - 2 - 4 * 8'
>>> x = eval(eq)
Write a function called query_equation that takes as a
parameter a string representing an equation (e.g., what is returned
from your random_equation function). This function should
prompt the user with the equation and then wait for an answer from the
user. If the user gets it wrong, then it will output a message to the
user indicating this and then prompt the user again with the equation
(eval will be useful in figuring out if the user's answer is
correct). The function should continue to prompt the user until they
get the equation right. When the user does finally get it right, the
function should print "Correct!". The message the user gets if they
answer incorrectly should depend on how close there are:
There are many ways you can tackle this function, but I suggest an incremental approach:
- If the user is within 2 of the correct answer, then you should
print "Close. Try again."
- If the user is further off than this, then print "Keep trying!"
(or something similar, free to get creative with these).
Here is a quick example with query_equation:
- Write the function without a loop so that it only queries the
user once and then either prints out "Correct" or "Incorrect"
depending on whether or not the user got it right. Remember that
input returns a string, so if you want a number you need
to convert it to one!
- Add some sort of loop to repeatedly query the user when incorrect.
- Add in "Close. Try again." that is printed when the user gets it
wrong but is within 2 of the correct answer.
>>> eq = random_equation(2)
'5 + 9 + 7'
5 + 9 + 7 = 25
5 + 9 + 7 = 22
Close. Try again.
5 + 9 + 7 = 20
Close. Try again.
5 + 9 + 7 = 21
Playing the game
We now have all of the pieces we need to put together our final program.
Write a function called play_game that takes a single
parameter, the game duration in seconds. The function should use the
time function in the time module to time the user.
As long as the elapsed time hasn't gone over the input game duration,
you should present the user with a random equation and then keep track
of how many they get correct (you should be thinking about some kind
of loop structure). When time runs out, you should print out how many
the user got correct and how long the game was played for.
This function should NOT be a lot of code, but should utilize the two
previous functions that you've written. The key responsibility of
this function is timing and keeping track of how many it got correct.
Recall from the prelab that we can measure how much time has elapsed
by first recording a starting time and then measuring the difference
between the current time returned by time() and the initial
As with the previous function, I would suggest an incremental
approach. There are many ways you could tackle this, but one would
NOTE: because we are doing the timing outside of the
query_equation function, time will NOT expire until the user
gets the answer right. This is fine and how I expect yours to work.
- Start by getting the timing loop working. For example, just get
any input from the user (using input) and then print it out.
Do this over and over again until the time has elapsed.
- Change your loop now to generate a random equation and then use
that equation to query the user.
- Finally, add in the bookkeeping part where you keep track of how
many the user got right and then at the end, print out the game
The finishing touches
When your play_game function is working, you can finish things up:
Complete your program by adding some statements at the end of
your file to play the game automatically when your program is run.
You should ask the user if they want to play a game. If they say
"yes", then you should prompt the user to see how long they want to
play for (in seconds) and then the game should start. If the user
does not say "yes", just give the user a nice goodbye message. All of
this code should be outside of your play_game function.
You may earn up to 2 extra points on this assignment by
adding improvements to your program. If you do, include in your
comments at the top of your program what you added. Below are some
suggestions, but feel free to add you own:
- (0.5 points) Add a prompt for difficulty level and change the
equation difficulty accordingly. Also, include the level in the game
- (1 point) Add parentheses to the equations (this can be tricky...).
- (0.5 points) Improve the user experience during guessing by adding more feedback.
- (? points) Add your own ideas. Points will be awarded based on difficulty and innovativeness.
When you're done
Make sure that your program is properly commented:
In addition, make sure that you've used good style.
- You should have comments at the very beginning of the file
stating your name, course (including section number), assignment
number and the date.
- Each function should have an appropriate docstring
- Other miscellaneous comments to make things clear
What to hand in:
You should have implemented:
Submit your .py file online using the digital submission link on the
course web page. You must have submitted it online before the
beginning of class on Wednesday.
- Additional code at the end to start the game, etc.
| || points |
| random_equation || |
| correctly formed equations || 3 |
| all 3 operators randomly || 1 |
| number varies based on input|| 1 |
| query_equation || |
| print correct/incorrect correctly || 1 |
| loops until correct || 3 |
| close answers get different feedback || 1 |
| play_game || |
| generates random equation and queries user || 1 |
| loops until time expired || 3 |
| prints out game summary || 1 |
| Final gaming code || |
| correctly handles user input for game starting || 1 |
| gets game duration || 1 |
|Prelab || 3|
|Comments, style || 3|
|Extra points || 2|
|Total || 23 + 2|