I have been picking at my battleship game and just started the sharks and fish simulation that Helene Martin saw at SIGCSE. I remember reading and working on this simulation back when it was first published. I was a big fan of Scientific American’s Computer Recreations back then; it was always good for interesting ideas. For the younger readers this was before the internet and Google. Finding cool teaching ideas required reading lots of magazines with SciAm being on the top of the list. I had a personal subscription back then. Trying to draw Mandelbrot and Julia set graphics on an Apple IIe was a major time black hole for about a year which was another SciAm idea.
Working on programs like this always points out the weak points of learning VB.net programming (or any language for that matter) on-the-job with high school level textbooks. Textbooks just do not discuss so many things in enough detail. I am trying to pass an array as a parameter and the obvious does not work. Pushing variables in and out of Functions and methods is poorly covered in most HS level texts. I have been teaching Programming I and II so long that I really struggle to design anything with more that 4 or 5 methods or anything requiring cleverness. I gave the sharks to my two seniors as a final. They are both smarter than I am; working together they are 3 times smarter than I am. It will be interesting to see how far they can get. I better go shopping for a better VB reference than what I have on the shelves.