Methods Exercise

In case you get stuck anywhere, don't be afraid to ask the coaches! They are here to help and will gladly explain everything to you!

Take notes during the exercises. Even if you never look at them again, they will help you memorise things!

For these exercises, you will use your editor (Visual Studio Code or similar).

First, create an empty file with a meaningful name for this exercise, for example methods.rb. Note the file extension .rb! Also remember what folder you saved your file in. It makes sense to create a folder for each lesson of the course.

Then, use cd in the command line to change to that folder. When you run ls you should see your file there.

Now you can run your Ruby program with ruby methods.rb in the command line.

Repeat the above steps and remember to save your file in the editor before running it!

  1. Write a method greet that takes a name of a person as an argument and outputs “Hello” and then the name, followed by an exclamation mark.

  2. Define a method that tells you which person lived longer.

    A person is defined as a hash, like this:

    beethoven = {
      name: "Ludwig van Beethoven", year_born: 1770, year_died: 1827
    kant = {
      name: "Immanuel Kant", year_born: 1724, year_died: 1804
    mozart = {
      name: "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart", year_born: 1756, year_died: 1791

    Your method takes two of these person hashes as arguments and returns a string. For the example above you would get these answers:

    “Immanuel Kant grew older than Ludwig van Beethoven!” “Ludwig van Beethoven grew older than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart!”

    What’s the answer for Kant and Mozart?

    Note: What happens if two people have the same age? Handle that case too!

  3. We have the following method:

    def mystery(number)
      changed = number * 5
      if changed.odd?
        if changed > 20

    What does the mystery method return when we call it with:

    1. mystery(3)

    2. mystery(4)

    3. mystery(6)

    Try to figure this out first without running the code. Just think about what happens, line after line! If you like, you can use the Schreibtischtest strategy for this. After looking for the answer manually, you can execute the code and see whether you are correct. The goal of this exercise is to make you think how the code is executed line by line.

  4. Write a method called translate that takes a word and returns the translation. If the translation cannot be found it should return “I’m sorry, I can’t translate that.”

    Hint: Use a Hash to store your translations!

  5. Try to guess what % does. Experiment in irb. You can start with the following expressions:

    1. 6 % 3

    2. 6 % 4

    3. 6 % 5

  6. OK, this is a tricky one so don’t be discouraged if you don’t find a solution. Even seasoned programmers struggle with this concept sometimes!

    Methods can also call themselves. This is called recursion and is a concept that can be very useful for some problems. Consider the following (non-recursive) method which calculates the factorial for a number x:

    def factorial(x)
      f = 1
      1.upto(x).each do |i|
        f = f * i

    First, try to understand step by step what this method does.

    Here comes the challenge: Can you write a recursive method that calculates the factorial? This means that your factorial method will call itself!

    As a hint, here’s the mathematical definition of the recursive factorial:

    Recursive factorial formula