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New Perspectives in Science Education 3th Edition 2014

Through the development of the science education, enhancing training quality of students become important and teachers started to use different methods to improve students’ logical reasoning, scientific operations skills such as problem solving. So that problem solving which has an important role in improving logical responding and critical thinking [1], become in the center of the research in order to obtain efficient results in students’ achievement.

In this point, the researcher is focused on understanding and using problem solving process which depends on understanding a number of some basic concepts such as the concept of equality. From the first year of the elementary education the students use the equal sign to show the equality between the equations and the results of the calculations especially in algebra courses. In other words, the equal sign is used for give the result of a problem or the calculations. After teaching of the other subjects in algebra such as identity, they learn different usage of the equal sign. As a result one of these important misconceptions occurs in students about equal sign is that perceiving the sign as an action [2]. Moreover studies showed that students have difficulties in learning the equal sign [3, 4]. As the nature of the mathematics, in particularly algebra, also visually impaired students encounter difficulties in learning the subject.

When it is examined the visually impared students using mathematics while problem solving in science, it can be seen that these student acquire any concept of number in a slow way as the mathematics concepts being abstract. [5] claimed that it is difficult for visually impaired students to understand the concepts concretely since they are lack of the opportunities to see equations or equal sign. As a result of this, it leads to difficulties to handle simple operations. To overcome these difficulties Braille Code can be used. However, [6] found that students can confuse easily with the pattern of dots so usage of Braille Codes cannot be the solution for teaching these concepts. In this paper, it is aimed to determine that how students perceive the equal sign and equality concept. More fundamentally, study is designed to seek the visually impaired students’ ways of understanding the equal sign and the concepts associate with the equal sign and the equality.

In this study, visually impaired students will be depth interviewed. Students will be allowed to participated the study voluntarily. The study will be conducted with each student individually. The interviews will be recorded to analyze in detail. In this process, they will not asked to their names, only their background information. It will asked in the interviews in order to determine how students perceive the equal sign and equality. As the study is in progress, from the experience of the researchers past experience expected outcome of the study is that the visually impaired students may perceive the equal sign as “a symbol” rather than a relational symbol or operational symbol. Moreover they may not perceive the meaning of the equality and cannot relate with the other concepts or the context in which the equation sign is used. The reason of such outcome would be said the techniques used in teaching equation sign. If the right tools and instructions are provided it is possible for blind students to study and understand significant elements of problem solving process hence their critical thinking and scientific operational skills may improve.*References*

[1] Lavole, R. (1993). The development, theory, application of a cognitive - network model of prediction in problem solving in biology, Journal of research in science teaching, 30, pp. 767-795

[2] Perso, T.F. (1992). Using diagnostic (conflict) teaching to overcome misconceptions in algebra. Subiaco W.A.: The Mathematics Association of Western Australia (INC),

[3] Yaman, H., Toluk, Z., Olkun, S. (2003). İlköğretim öğrencileri eşit işaretini nasıl algılamaktadırlar , Hacettepe Üniversitesi Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi 24 142-151.

[4] Akıncı, M. (2012). Eşittir İşaretinin Anlamları Üzerine İlköğretim Matematik Öğretmenliği Öğrencileri İle Bir Çalışma, X. Ulusal Fen Bilimleri ve Matematik Kongresi

[5] Chorniak E.J. (1977) Education of Visually Impaired Children – Objectives in the Education of Visually Impaired Children in Jan J.E., Freeman R.D., Scott E.P. (1977) Visual impairment in children and adolescents. Grune & Stratton, Inc. New York.

[6] Gross, J. (1995) Special Education Needs in the Primary School – A Practical Guide, Open University Press

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