How the Teaching of Heuristic Methods Affects Inventive Problem-solving by Middle School Students
This paper presents the outcomes of teaching an inventive problem-solving course to middle school students. Contrary to the common view of creativity as a ‘free flow of thought’ or ‘thinking out of the box,’ the method under discussion stresses the use of diverse heuristic approaches for problem-solving and the invention of new products: for example, solving a problem by assigning a new function to an existing component in a system or altering the dependency between variables or functions in a system. The sample consisted of 112 experimental students and a similar group of control students. Data were collected by means of a pre-course and post-course problem-solving quiz, observations and interviews. The findings indicated that the participants significantly improved their abilities in suggesting innovative solutions to problems, and appreciated the course as being more helpful than other subjects they learned in school.
Keywords: Problem-solving, invention, heuristics, middle school students