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Jim Peters
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Jim Peters

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My high school freshmen always went through a phase of Chuck Norris jokes.   Use something like that to hook them, but then have them change it.   Maybe instead a "Staples Button"?   Or a derivative of the Purple Monkey Internet meme that is re-running in userfriendly.org ?   Or the hamster dance.
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Jim Peters

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This sounds like a great basis for a classroom lesson (away from the computers?).  During Exploratory (3 to 5 days in one of up to nine shops for freshmen before they pick their trade) evaluation, in shop we did an exercise for "attention to detail" to find all the errors in an HTML file.  Personally, I frequently made the comment "attention to detail" and tried to lead them there from reading any number of those "if you can read this"  examples.
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Jim Peters

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For arrays, I used a pad of sticky notes.  That's the only thing I've tried in the classroom.  Recursion is a concept just beyond what I felt was necessary to teach my high school vocational shop class.   I struggled with the idea of finding something for the earliest classes with freshmen to  start teaching the vocabulary and objects.   I visualized a simple swiss army knife with a small number of implements.   For your question about recursion, I didn't understand it until I put together a) making a function call b) it goes on a stack c) the something to be done when I get back comes from unwinding the stack d) the code I am calling is another instance of myself.     For visuals and minipulates, something like a pile of the same object made from Tinker toys or Legos and one of the lego pieces is more than a brick -- some lego that does something
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In their circles
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open source geek seeking employment as such