Problem with recursion? (was [plt-scheme] Re: Novice needs help writing function )

From: dbtleonia at (dbtleonia at
Date: Fri Jan 4 12:46:15 EST 2008

>From my experience, the HtDP approach to teaching recursion works
well: teach recursive *data structures* before teaching recursive
*functions*.  I find students understand recursive data structures
more easily because data structures are concrete -- you can write down
examples and see where the recursion comes in.  Then once the students
have got that part down, moving on to functions over recursive data is
a much smaller conceptual leap.

I think the examples in this thread using Fibonacci are harder for
beginners to grasp.  Stick with lists or kebabs or whatnot.


On Jan 4, 12:11 am, "Grant Rettke" <gret... at> wrote:
> This thread had mentioned helping students understand recursion, and
> for some reason, this topic of understanding recursion has come up a
> lot lately "by the water cooler", among other things.
> I recently heard that a particular teacher quit trying to teach
> recursion because "it is too hard for students to understand".
> Is there an epidemic of sorts that students don't understand recursion?
> What are the challenges to understanding recursion?
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