Note: this lesson is a work in progress. We are working to add more content—but you might find what we have so far useful.


  1. Recursive Tracing Tutorial (10 mins)
    This video covers how to simulate the execution of a recursive Java method.
  2. University of Washington Lecture on Recursion (50 mins)
    This video covers:
    • The conceptual basis behind recursion;
    • How to write a recursive method to solve a problem;
    • The similarities and differences between recursion and iteration..
    Note that the AP test does not ask students to write recursive methods, so this lecture might be overkill to show to students. There are also notes by the lecturer that you could use as reference.


Practice-it problems

Here's a list of recursive tracing "mystery" problems on Practice-it. These problems allow students to practice tracing the execution of a recursive method.