Tracing conceptual understandings and misunderstandings of science by students with and without vision impairment through a pilot study: the case of density and heat
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The purpose of this pilot study was to describe and analyze the perceptions and alternative ideas of individuals with and without vision impairments regarding the concepts of “density” and “heat”. The perceptions of sighted, age- and gender-matched participants were compared with those of visually impaired participants (two groups). Semi-structured interviews were conducted, and the analysis of the data followed the method of tracing and developing categories and sub-categories. The analysis revealed that the two groups held diverse understandings about “density”, while most participants seemed to identify “heat” as “temperature” and vice versa. The results are presented in the form of conception correlation matrices highlighting common concepts and alternative ideas towards the notions of “density” and “heat”. The findings demonstrate that in both groups there are common patterns of alternative ideas, which may lead to the assumption that vision loss or blindness and proficiency in science do not constitute a causal relation. The results may lead to useful implications for differentiated instruction regarding the comprehension of science in an integrated educational setting in conjunction with technological advances and inclusive practices.