[Edu-sig] understanding recursion

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Sat Feb 10 20:11:27 CET 2007

A recent thread on recursion math-thinking-l might be of interest.

Many pro computer scientists like to teach about it in tandem with
Peano Arithmetic (PA) i.e. mathematical induction.


Of course if the students are already math phobic...

But the idea here is a CS approach gives you a second chance to get
turned on by what turned you off the first time, i.e. those traditional
[I'd say antiquated] high school math classes wherein computer languages
are strictly forbidden and/or sidelined without comment.

Hope yr feelin' better Dethe.  Having the flu sucks.


On 2/9/07, Dethe Elza <delza at livingcode.org> wrote:
> Here's my 0.02.  Take with a grain of salt, I've been feverish with
> the flu the last couple of days
> When the issue comes up, why not step away from the computers and
> simply draw a stack on the whiteboard?  Show how looping stays at the
> same place in the stack and recursion will eventually overflow the
> stack. They don't have to understand all the details of why (or why
> recursion doesn't have that effect in all languages), but a simple
> picture should give them enough to know why to avoid one over the other.
> --Dethe
> "The Brazilian government is definitely pro-law. But if law doesn't
> fit reality anymore, law has to be changed. That's not a new thing.
> That's civilisation as usual." --Gilberto Gil, Brazilian Minister of
> Culture
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