How Does the Course Work?
Students learn by example and exercise. In terms of example, we read about scientific discoveries from the perspective of where they came from. What did it take to make the discovery in the context of the time, and why was it so cool? Also, we learn from each other. People think and create in many different ways. Learn to emulate thinking that you've seen be productive.

We learn by doing. Just as an athlete trains to be better, we can develop and hone our minds with exercises. I strongly believe that only personal experience can create meaningful improvements in problem solving. Puzzles serve as a common medium on which people of diverse backgrounds can exercise their minds together. There are lots of wonderful problems and puzzles out there. I've taken some and developed them into sequences which illustrate and then reinforce fundamental concepts in problem solving.

We learn by being challenged. Our intuition is fallible. This will be exposed so that we can recognize "wrong paths" and move on.

We also learn by introspection. What is working for us? What is not? What can we do to improve our problem-solving? Once developed, this habit enables us to teach ourselves.

As an example, a new puzzle in my course is to have two students interlocked by ropes. Each student has a 10' rope tied from one hand to one foot, and the ropes are looped once around each other.  The challenge is for the students to disentangle themselves without removing the ropes from their bodies.  The students get very wrapped up in stepping around each other when, in fact, they just need to step back and visualize what they need to accomplish and what the true constraints are on their situation.  This helps to teach the importance of properly re-stating a problem and of developing a strategy rather than just fumbling around until something pops into your head.