Evidence for teaching strategy in bubble 5


Bubble 5 for this lesson has a note for teachers:

“Predicting the outcome of code is a pedagogical strategy that has been shown to help students remember what certain code does. The act of making a prediction - right or wrong - focuses your attention when observing the actual outcome.”

Could someone point me towards the research for this strategy? I am interested in reading/learning more CS-specific pedagogy, but I sometimes have a hard time finding it. And thank you to the code.org curriculum team for using evidence-based teaching strategies!


I have passed this on to the code curriculum staff. expect a response soon.


Hi, I learned about this strategy from Computer Science ed researcher Mark Guzdial years ago at a paper talk and used in my teaching ever since. I too am having a difficult time finding a satisfactory reference.

I know that it’s a prevalent strategy in science classes and (apparently, I learned) for reading comprehension with younger children. Science example: for physics, “I’m holding a tennis ball and a bowling ball at even heights. I’m going to drop them at the same time. predict: Which will hit the ground first?”

For programming, I would usually write some code in front of my students and before I hit run ask them to predict what will happen. I’d get a few suggestions and then ask everyone to vote. I’ll tell you it really makes kids want to see the code run. The payoff comes afterward in figuring out why whatever happened did since kids now have grounds for an investigation.

I’ll ask around to research-y folks for a better reference.


It’s apparently the work of Eric Mazur. and has a “huge body of literature of its use in Science ed as well as language arts.”

According to Mark Guzdial:
"Also Looks like Eric Mazur’s research group’s website is down. You can find his pubs on prediction there, once it’s back up…here’s one I found on Google Scholar: http://aapt.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1119/1.1707018

You need to have subscription to that journal to read the article ^^^ but you can read the abstract to get the gist and other works cited. That’s the best I can do for now.


Thank you for this! Mark Guzdial work is a great CS education resource, but I had not heard about Eric Mazur’s work in science. I will check it out.