You should complete this on Monday Sept 20th, 2021, but it isn’t due until Wednesday Sept 22nd, 2021 at 5pm.

You should work on this with your in-class partner, but you both need to submit separately. If you finish it outside of class without your partner, note which sections you completed together and which you completed separately in your Collaborations.txt.


Get practice writing code that uses inheritance and see how the finer details of inheritance work.


Mount the COURSES drive and remember to save everything into STUWORK. If you don’t do this, everything you write will disappear when you log out!!!!

  • Create a new folder in your STUWORK called InheritanceActivity
  • Create your Collaborations.txt document in that folder
  • Create a document Answers.txt where you’ll write your answers to some questions below

Exercise 1

We’ll first make some classes, remember to compile and run your code after each step to catch any errors early!

a. Create an Animal class that has the instance variables happiness and age and getters/setters for these variables. (These can be ints or Strings depending on what you think they should contain.)

b. Choose a species of animal and create a subclass of Animal in its own file. Remember that you create a subclass with extends. To compile and test your subclass, you’ll need to also compile Animal. An easy way to do this is to type javac *.java, which will compile all the Java files in the directory.

c. Within your subclass, make another instance variable called happiness. Make a getter and setter with different names from the Animal class getter and setter (so if you had setHappiness in Animal, you could do setHappinessDog in a Dog subclass).

d. In main of your subclass create an instance of your subclass to make sure everything is working.

Exercise 2

We’ll now explore what is going on with those happiness variables.

a. In main, use your setters to set the happiness of your instance to two different values (meaning use the Animal setter to set to 5 and the subclass setter to set to 10, for example)

b. Add println statements that demonstrate if the setters are accessing the same variable or different variables and write your answer in Answers.txt.

Exercise 3

We’ll now explore how methods in subclasses interact with methods in superclasses.

a. Create a method printStatus in your subclass that prints something to the terminal.

b. In main create two instances of your subclass but declare one as type Animal and one as your subclass type:

Animal test = new Dog();
Dog test2 = new Dog();

c. Try to call printStatus on both objects. One will report an error. Record which one and the error in Answers.txt.

d. Create a method printStatus in Animal that prints something different than the method in your subclass.

e. Try again to call printStatus on the objects you created in (b). Record in Answers.txt which method is accessed for each object.

f. In Answers.txt, reflect on why you think you got the errors that you did and what that tells you about what Java is doing when it tries to compile and when it runs a program. (Don’t worry about being right, we’ll talk about it!)

Exercise 4

Let’s think some more about overriding methods in a subclass.

a. In your subclass method printStatus, use super to call the printStatus method of Animal. In Answers.txt, come up with an example of when overriding a superclass method and then calling the superclass method could be useful.

b. In your subclass, add a new method pet using the @Override annotation:

public void pet() {
    System.out.println("Petting the animal!");

c. Report the error that you see in Answers.txt.

d. Correct the error by adding pet to the Animal class as well and verify the error is resolved.

e. Reflect in Answers.txt on whether you find the @Override annotation useful and if you plan to use it (there is no right or wrong answer, I just am curious what you think!).

Exercise 5

If you didn’t already, go back and add JavaDocs method documentation for each of your methods.

Hand in

Make sure that you updated Collaborations.txt as necessary. Send the code to your partner if relevant. As always, turn your folder into a zip and upload the zip to the Moodle assignment. Remember that each partner needs to upload their own lab.


This activity is not a homework assignment. That means that you’re evaluated on whether you attempted all parts of it, but your work will not be graded for correctness as long as a clear effort has been made. If you aren’t able to complete some parts, great ways to indicate clear effort are to reach out for help before the deadline (note ways you did so in your Collaborations.txt file) and to use comments in the code to indicate things you tried but what went wrong/where you got stuck.