Integrated View at the MTCS Course Organization: The Case of Recursion

  • Orit HazzanEmail author
  • Tami Lapidot
  • Noa Ragonis


This chapter presents an optional organization theme for the MTCS course around the concept of recursion. Based on the active learning-based teaching model, a series of themes is suggested, each one highlights a different pedagogical perspective. The themes are: classification of recursive phenomena (a non-programming task), the “leap of faith” approach, models of the recursive process, research on learning/teaching recursion, how does recursion sound? (the case of trees and fractals), evaluation (a non-programming project and a test construction), and a list of additional activities that illustrates that recursion can, indeed, be the focus of almost any topic discussed in the MTCS course. Each theme is accompanied with activities devoted to recursion to be facilitated in the MTCS course.


Computer Science Pedagogical Content Knowledge Recursive Function Recursive Algorithm Recursive Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. George C E (2000) ERSOI – Visualising recursion and discovering new errors. Proc. 31st SIGCSE Tech. Symp. Comp. Sci. Educ., Austin, Texas: 305–309Google Scholar
  2. Gersting J L (1996) Mathematical structures for computer science (third edition). NY: W. H. Freeman and CompanyGoogle Scholar
  3. Harvey B (1997) Computer science Logo style - volume 1: Symbolic computing 2/e. The MIT pressGoogle Scholar
  4. Harvey B, Wright M (1999) Simply scheme: Introducing computer science 2/e. The MIT pressGoogle Scholar
  5. Hofstadter, D (1979) Godel, Escher, Bach – An eternal golden braid. Vintage books, NYGoogle Scholar
  6. Kahney H (1989) What do novice programmers know about recursion? In: Soloway E, Spohrer J (eds) Studying the novice programmer: 209–228. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  7. Lapidot T, Levy D, Paz T (2000) Functional programming for high school students. (in Hebrew). Migvan – R&D in Computer Science Teaching, Technion, Haifa, IsraelGoogle Scholar
  8. Lapidot T, Hazzan O (2005) Song debugging: Merging content and pedagogy in computer science education. Inroads –SIGCSE Bull 37(4): 79–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Leron U (1988) What makes recursion hard?, Proc. 6th Int. Cong. Math. Educ. (ICME6), Budapest, HungaryGoogle Scholar
  10. Levy D, Lapidot T (2000) Recursively speaking: Analyzing students’ discourse of recursive ­phenomena. Proc. 31st SIGCSE Tech. Symp. Comput. Sci. Educ., Austin, Texas: 315–319Google Scholar
  11. Scholtz T, Sanders I (2010) Mental models of recursion: Investigating students’ understanding of recursion. ITiCSE 2010, Ankara, TurkeyGoogle Scholar
  12. Shulman L S (1986) Those who understand: knowledge growth in teaching. J. Educ. Teach. 15(2): 4–14Google Scholar
  13. Vickers P (1999) CAITLIN: Implementation of a musical program auralization system to study the effects on debugging tasks as performed by novice Pascal programmers. A doctoral thesis submitted to Loughborough University. Available at Accessed 22 September 2010
  14. Wu C, Dale N B, Bethel L J (1998) Conceptual models and cognitive styles in teaching recursion. Proc. 30th SIGCSE Tech. Symp. Comput. Sci. Educ, Atlanta GA, USA: 292–296Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. Education in Technology & ScienceTechnion - Israel Institute of TechnologyHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Computer Science Studies, School of EducationBeit Berl CollegeDoar Beit BerlIsrael

Personalised recommendations