Trial and error method: advantages and disadvantages

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Trial and error method: advantages and disadvantages
Trial and error method: advantages and disadvantages

Humanity originates several thousand years ago. And throughout all this time it has been constantly developing. There were always many reasons for this, but without human ingenuity, this simply would not have been possible. The trial and error method was and is now one of the main ones.

trial and error method

Description of the method

The use of this method is not clearly recorded in historical documents. But despite this, he deserves special attention.

Trial and error is a method in which the solution to a problem is achieved by selecting options until the result is correct (for example, in mathematics) or acceptable (when inventing new methods in science).

Humanity has always used this method. Approximately a century ago, psychologists tried to find common ground between people who used this method of cognition. And they succeeded. A person who is looking for an answer to a given problem is forced to select options, set up experiments and look at the result. This continues until the insight on the issue comes. The experimenter enters a new level of thinking in this matter.

Method in the worldstories

One of the most famous people who used this method was Edison. Everyone knows his story of the invention of the light bulb. He experimented until he succeeded. But Edison perfected this method. When looking for a solution, he divided tasks among the people who worked for him. Accordingly, much more material on the topic was obtained than with the work of one person. And based on the data obtained, the trial and error method was a great success in Edison's activities. Thanks to this man, research institutes have appeared that apply, among other things, this method.

trial and error in mathematics

Degrees of difficulty

This method has several levels of complexity. They were so divided for better assimilation. The task of the first level is considered easy, and little effort is spent on finding its solution. But she doesn't have many answers. As the degree of difficulty increases, so does the complexity of the task. The trial and error method of grade 5 is the most difficult and time-consuming.

It should be taken into account that as the level of complexity increases, so does the amount of knowledge a person possesses. To better understand what is at stake, consider the technique. The first and second levels allow inventors to improve it. At the last level of complexity, a completely new product is created.

For example, there is a known case when young people took an intractable task from air navigation as the topic of their thesis. The students did not have the same knowledge as many scientists who worked inthis area, but thanks to the wide range of knowledge of the guys, they managed to find the answer. And moreover, the area of ​​​​solution turned out to be in the confectionery business, which is the furthest from science. It would seem that this is impossible, but it is a fact. Young people were even given a copyright certificate for their invention.

Method benefits

The first advantage can rightly be considered a creative approach. Trial-and-error tasks allow you to use both hemispheres of the brain to find the answer.

It is worth giving an example of how boats were built. Excavations show how, over the centuries, detail after detail has changed form. Researchers are constantly trying new things. If the boat sank, then this form was crossed out, if it remained to stay on the water, then this was taken into account. Thus, in the end, a compromise solution was found.

If the task is not too difficult, then this method takes a little time. Some emerging problems may have ten options, one or two of which will turn out to be correct. But if we consider, for example, robotics, then in this case, without the use of other methods, research can drag on for decades and bring millions of options.

Dividing tasks into several levels allows you to evaluate how fast and possible it is to find a solution. This reduces the time to make a decision. And with complex tasks, you can use the trial and error method in parallel with others.

problem solving by trial and error

Disadvantages of the method

With developmenttechnology and science, this method began to lose its popularity.

In some areas, it is simply not rational to create thousands of samples in order to change one element at a time. Therefore, other methods based on specific knowledge are now often used. For this, the nature of things, the interaction of elements with each other, began to be studied. Mathematical calculations, scientific justifications, experiments and past experience began to be used.

The trial and error method is still very well used in creativity. But building a car in this way already seems stupid and irrelevant. Therefore, now, at the current level of development of civilization, it is necessary to use other methods in the exact sciences for the most part.

Often, with the method under consideration, the task can describe many completely insignificant things and not take into account a priori important things. For example, the inventor of penicillin (an antibiotic) claimed that, with the right approach, the drug could have been invented twenty years earlier than him. This would help save countless lives.

With complex problems, there are often situations when the question itself lies in one area of ​​knowledge, and its solution is completely in another.

The researcher is not always sure that the answer will be found at all.

Author of trial and error

Who specifically invented this way of knowing, we will never know. More precisely, we know that this was clearly an inventive person who, most likely, was guided by a desire to improve his life.

In ancient times, people were quite limited in many things. Everything was invented by thismethod. Then there was still no fundamental knowledge in the field of physics, mathematics, chemistry and other important sciences. Therefore, it was necessary to act at random. This is how they got fire to protect themselves from predators, cook food and heat their homes. Weapons to get food, boats to move along the rivers. Everything was invented when man encountered difficulty. But each time the problem was solved, it led to a better standard of living.

It is known that many scientists used this method in their writings.

However, it is precisely the description of the method and the active use that we observe in the physiologist Thorndike at the end of the nineteenth century.

trial and error method 5th grade

Thorndike Research

An example of the trial and error method can be considered in the scientific works of a physiologist. He performed various behavioral experiments with animals by placing them in special boxes.

One of the experiments looked something like this. A cat placed in a box is looking for a way out. The box itself can have 1 opening option: you had to press the spring - and the door swung open. The animal used many actions (so-called trials), and most of them were unsuccessful. The cat remained in the box. But after some set of options, the animal managed to press the spring and get out of the box. Thus, the cat, getting into the box, memorized the scenarios over time. And got out of the box in a shorter time.

Thorndike proved that the method is valid, and although the result is notlinear, but over time, when repeating similar actions, the solution comes almost instantly.

trial and error mathematics grade 5

Problem solving by trial and error

There are a great many examples of this method, but it is worth mentioning one very interesting one.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, there lived a famous designer of engines for aviation Mikulin. At that time, there were a huge number of plane crashes due to magnetos, that is, the ignition spark disappeared after a while of flight. There were many experiments and thoughts about the reason, but the answer came in a completely unexpected situation.

Alexander Alexandrovich met a man with a black eye on the street. At that moment, an insight came to him that a person without one eye sees much worse. He shared this observation with the aviator Utochkin. When a second magneto was installed in aircraft, the number of air crashes decreased significantly. And Utochkin paid cash rewards to Mikulin for some time after each demonstration flight.

Application of the method in mathematics

Quite often, the trial and error method in mathematics is used in schools as a way to develop logical thinking and test the speed of finding options. This allows you to diversify the learning process and introduce elements of the game.

You can often find tasks in school textbooks with the wording "solve the equation by trial and error." In this case, it is necessary to select the answer options. When the correct answer is found, it is simply proved in practice, that is,necessary calculations. As a result, we make sure that this is the only correct answer.

Example of a practical task

Trial and error in 5th grade math (in recent editions) appears frequently. Here is an example.

It is necessary to name which sides a rectangle can have. Assuming area (S)=32 cm and perimeter (P)=24 cm.

Solution to this problem: suppose that the length of one side is 4. So the length of one more side is the same.

We get the following equation:

24 – 4 – 4=16

16 divided by 2=8

8 cm is the width.

Check with the area formula. S \u003d AB \u003d 84 \u003d 32 centimeters. As we can see, the decision is correct. You can also calculate the perimeter. According to the formula, the following calculation is obtained P \u003d 2(A + B) u003d 2(4 + 8) u003d 24.

In mathematics, trial and error is not always the best way to find solutions. Often you can use more suitable methods, while spending less time. But for the development of thinking, this method is available in the arsenal of every teacher.

trial and error tasks

Theory of inventive problem solving

In TRIZ, the trial and error method is considered one of the most inefficient. When a person finds himself in an unusual difficult situation for him, then actions at random, most likely, will be fruitless. You can spend a lot of time and as a result not succeed. The theory of inventive problem solving is based on already known laws, and other methods of cognition are usually used. Often TRIZ is used inraising children, making this process interesting and exciting for the child.


Having considered this method, we can say with confidence that it is quite interesting. Despite its shortcomings, it is often used in creative applications.

However, it does not always allow you to achieve the desired result. A researcher never knows when to stop searching or maybe it is worth making a couple more efforts and a brilliant invention will be born. It is also not clear how much time will be spent.

If you decide to use this method to solve a problem, you should understand that the answer can sometimes be in a completely unexpected area. But it allows you to look at the search from different points of view. You may have to sketch out a few dozen variations, or maybe thousands. But only perseverance and faith in success will lead to the desired result.

trial and error example

Sometimes this method is used as an additional method. For example, at the initial stage to narrow the search. Or when the research was done in many ways and reached a dead end. In this case, the creative component of the method will allow finding a compromise solution to the problem.

Trial and error is often used in teaching. It allows children to find solutions in various life situations on their own experience. This teaches them to remember the correct types of behavior that are accepted in society.

Artists use this method to find inspiration.

The method is worth trying out in everyday life whenproblem solving. Perhaps some things will appear differently to you.

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