Have students explain their problem and ask questions about it to an inanimate object when debugging so they have a clearer idea of what the problem is before asking for help.

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  • In the process of explaining their problem and asking their question students may come to a solution or develop a better understanding of the problem.
    • By having students talk to an inanimate object first, you’re encouraging self reliance and freeing yourself up as a resource to students who couldn’t work through the problem on their own.
    • A rubber duck is just one example of an inanimate object they chat with.
  • Note from the CS Teaching Tips Team: The process of explaining a problem to an inanimate object is called Rubber Duck Debugging.
    • Students explain what their code does line-by-line to a rubber duck (or other inanimate object).
    • See the Rubber Duck Debugging Wikipedia page for more information.
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Interview with Ellen Spertus
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