Chemical reactions: what understanding do students with blindness develop?
This study examined the understanding of chemical equations developed by three students with blindness who were enrolled in the same secondary-school chemistry class. The students were interviewed while interpreting and balancing chemical equations. During the course of these interviews, the students produced diagrams using Braille symbols that provided insight into how they visualized the various components of the equations used to represent chemical reactions. The results of this study suggested that these students all possessed views of the symbolic representations of chemical reactions that differed from those of practicing chemists. The alternative views the students had of these symbols, however, did not differ significantly from the results of previous studies conducted with students with sight. The results of this study suggest that current pedagogical practices should be revised to enhance the conceptual understanding that all students develop of the symbolic representations used to describe chemical reactions.