Introduce recursion using the example of opening a present wrapped in several layers of wrapping paper.

  • Activity:
    • Have students imagine that a friend has given them a watch (for example) as a birthday present. Their friend has wrapped it in several layers of wrapping, and they must develop an algorithm for opening the present.
  • This activity has an advantage over the common Russian dolls example in that it is expressed as a recursive algorithm rather than just as a recursive object.
    • This example may also be easier for beginners than common examples involving the "Towers of Hanoi" or computing Fibonacci numbers (which contain two recursive calls).