Heuristic

DEFINITION

Helping to discover or learn; serving to indicate, point out, guide, or reveal. "Heuristic" can be either a noun or an adjective. A heuristic is anything ? object or activity ? that gets a person to think fruitfully about something in order to come up with a solution. Something is heuristic if it has this quality. It might be pushing a pencil, a crayon, or a brush; or looking through a stack of books, or taking a walk in a field (see Velcro ?). Each of these can be heuristic activities. Brainstorming is tremendously heuristic. Analyzing an image or model of a Eureka! thing can help one to understand it. Exploring more and more ways to think about a thing gives a student ever-increasing understanding, as when an architect thinks about a site, its users' needs, floor plans, materials, engineering, styles, forms, and various aspects of potential solutions present themselves. This word comes from a Greek root meaning "to find," the same word from which we have "eureka": "I've GOT it!"(pr. hyoo-RI-stək)Also see cognitive, creativity, didactic, direction, inspiration, muse, and teacher.

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