High School Students’ Views About Heat and Temperature Concepts

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Yeşilyurt M.

International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, vol.1, no.1, pp.1-24, 2006 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


Abstract Background (Introduction)

The countries in the world make various studies at their educational association about the concept of education which can be developed, renovated and operated. So it must be the biggest objective of our educational system to educate modern, productive responsible, qualified and educated people who also take side of solutions instead of problems. It clear that students’ misconceptions about basic concepts and not providing good educational opportunities them at the expected level causes some negative states in transferring the knowledge and in getting the necessary behaviors. It is seen especially in the science educational research that many misconceptions both occurred and possibly happen in the educational instruction process. It is also clear that the misconceptions which may occur in the future will greatly affect the success of the students if we consider that concepts form the foundation of the topics to be taught. Two of the much used concepts taught during science education and used in our daily life are heat and temperature. In this way, it appears that the concepts of heat and temperature must be perceived by the students correctly.


What students think about the heat and temperature concepts and how they perceive these concepts seem to be an important problem that must be investigated by researchers? So the general objective of this study is to identify the views of students, who are in year 1 and 2 of high schools about heat and temperature concepts and their learning problems,

Method and Sample

According to the objectives of the undertaken study, open-ended questions and semi-structured interviews were prepared and applied to learn and evaluate the views of heat and temperature concepts of the students who are attending to the first and second year of the high schools in city centre, Van. The study investigated many aspects of these terms under some sub-headings such as the students’ views of the relations of heat and temperature, the difference between these two terms. Yet during the interviews structured-interview questions were given to each student as written form to get them understand these questions well. During the study students were seen in two different contexts (classroom and laboratory). Many aspects of heat and temperature concepts were explored through the use of interviews and the interview questions of heat and temperature were taken from the students who are in year 1 and 2 of the high schools and 14 to 16. In total 240 students were interviewed and some analyzed information is provided about the interviewed students age differences and classroom levels in the article. During the study the data form the students was taken in three ways. In the first, a tape-recorder was used to get data during the face to face talk. In so doing the questions and answers were transcribed and the dialogues which are different from one another were noted. In the second, the group discussion method was used and the important and different statements uttered by the students were both noted and tape-recorded. In the final, written questions were used to get data from the students and the outcomes of the written answers were assessed. While using these types of data collection tools, some observations were made to facilitate students’ understanding.


The teaching of heat and temperature concepts begins in year four of the primary schools and these concepts are among the important topics. Many aspects of these concepts were investigated as follows: the topics of the relations and differences of these concepts, temperature, the change of temperature, boiling and freezing states, heat capacity and expansion, the comparison of heat and temperature were interviewed at the classrooms and laboratories.

 Results and Discussion

It is true that the differences between heat and temperature concepts always cause misconceptions among the students. This was proved during this study as well. Students in most cases use the term heat instead of temperature and vice versa in daily life use and at school applications. For example, students usually say that “the temperature of the classroom is 27 °C” instead of saying “the heat of the classroom is 27 °C”.


It is suggested that the misconceptions of heat and temperature must be identified firstly and these concepts must be taught by using a technique which prevents misconception. It is hoped that some of the misconceptions of heat and temperature may be controlled if the topic of matter state change is taught more effectively. In this context, it is also suggested the topic of matter state change may be taught by computer-assisted programmers. To teach the matter state change about the heat and temperature more efficiently a graphic designer programmer included at the Sanal Grafikçi.exe web address which can draw the state change of various matters and calculates heat changes may be used. Finally, students can learn the concepts of heat and temperature by making experiments at the laboratories which is usually taught to places to effective learning. 

High School Students’ Views about Heat and Temperature Concepts

International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, Vol 1 No: 1, pp 1 – 24 2006

ISSN 1306-3065

Web site http://www.ijese.com