Students' Mental Model of Recursion: A Computer-Based Approach

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This paper presents a computer-based approach to students’ mental model of recursion. It is established that having a good level of understanding flow of control is a crucial factor to understanding of the recursion. In this study the computer-based tool is designed in a constructionist method to investigate how students’ correct model of recursion will be formed. The technique employed in this research seen the recursive call(s) as the new copies of the recursive process. The idea of MAV (Microworld Animated Visualisation) was created in order to reveal the latent layers of this complex flow of control for the students. The process of forming and evolution of students’ mental models was viewed from functional abstraction perspective. Conceptualization of the students’ mental models of the recursion provided an integrated mental model of recursion in a coordinated pyramid-shape (Figure one). This coordinated pyramid-shape model is based by distinguishing between the functionings and functionality perspectives of the crucial components of students’ mental model.


Keywords: Computer-Based Learning, Recursion, Mental Models, Functional Abstraction
Stream: Creative Arts and Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Mojtaba Ammari-Allahyari

PhD Student, Institute of Education, The University of Warwick
Coventry, Coventry, UK

I achieved my BSc in Teaching Mathematics from Teacher Training University in Tehran/Iran, Then I continued my further studies in mathematics and achieved my MSC in Pure Mathematics - Combinatorics - from Sharif University of technology - Tehran, Iran and Now I am doing my PhD in Mathematics Education at Warwick University in UK.

Ref: L09P0850