Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Heuristic Method-Methods of Teaching Science

Methods of Teaching Science-Heuristic Method

Prepared by
M.Sc., M.Ed., JRF & NET
Assistant professor in Physical Science, Arafa Institute for Teacher Education
Attur, Thrissur.

            Science is a practical subject.  It cannot be taught by mere talking.  It should be based on the principle of ‘learning by doing’.  The correct way to teach must ensure use of and development of senses of touch, sight and hearing.  The methods used in our schools only make use of sense of hearing or sight. The true spirit of science lies in original discovery and investigation.
            The name of this method is derived from the Greek Word ‘Heurisco’=I discover/I find  Founder is Henry Edward Armstrong, Prof. of Chemistry, Imperial college, London.
            Real spirit of Heuristic method is placing the student in the position of original investigator. 
Herbert spencer-”Children should  be told as little as possible and induced to discover as much as possible”.


*          Laboratory work is essential for every pupil.
*          A sheet of instructions concerning the problem is given to every pupil and he is expected to take observations or conduct experiments in accordance with instructions.
*          He records his observations in his note-book.
*          From these observations he has to draw his own conclusions or inferences. 
Principles underlying Heuristic Method
1.         The Principle of Activity
2.         The principle of Logical thinking.
3.         The principle of proceeding from the Known to the unknown.
4.         The principle of purposeful experience.
5.         The Principle of Self thinking and self study.

                        The students individually or in groups, in the classroom and laboratory or outside in the field, factory, mines, seashore and other places of scientific interest, experiment, observe and make notes, draw diagrams and summarize. 

Role of the teacher
1.         He should be a man of knowledge to give references.
2.         He could possess curiosity, interest and a spirit of scientific investigation because these are to be developed in the child.
3.         He should be competent in the art of questioning and should encourage the students to ask questions.
4.         He should be a guide, a working partner and a friend of pupils.
5.         He should provide an atmosphere of freedom in the classroom in order to encourage self development spontaneity and self expression.
6.         He should devise and plan problems according to the age, ability and interests of the pupils.
7.         The teacher is to guide them and when required and he issues instruction slips.

1.         The method is based on the important principle of psychology, i.e., ‘learning by doing’.  So the students get a chance of having direct first and experience by performing experiments themselves.
2.         Power of observation, reasoning and drawing inference are developed.
3.         Students develop the habit of doing duties and become research minded.
4.         Problem of homework is solved, since the students carry out all their work in the school.
5.         This method prepares the student for life, imparting training in scientific method.
6.         It makes the pupil self-reliant and self-confident.
7.         Teacher gives individual attention since all students may not be performing the same practical at one time.
8.         Each student has to show his observations to the teacher and has to consult the teacher about his difficulties.  Hence teacher-student relations get strengthened.
9.         After the discovery of a law by his own effort, the pupil starts taking pride in achievement and happiness which encourage him towards further experiment.


1.         It is a very long and tedious process and hence a prescribed course cannot be covered within a specific period.
2.         The experts who have to provide instruction for each topic are not available.
3.         The students are immature and it is difficult for them to draw conclusions.
4.         It is very costly and hence impossible for such countries as are not economically strong because well equipped laboratories are required for the purpose.
5.         As no text book is written on heuristic lines the teacher has to work hard to arrange problems for learners.
6.         The grading of problems is not an easy job.  It requires sufficient skill and training.

7.         It is impossible for every child to rediscover all laws of science in his school hours.