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Handbook of Research on Science Education by Michael Talbot-Smith

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CHAPTER 2

Student Conceptions and Conceptual Learning in Science

Phil ScottHilary AsokoJohn Leach

University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Alice is a 14-year-old high school student, and in her science classes she has been taught quite a lot about the scientific concept of energy. Prior to these lessons Alice certainly used the word “energy” in her every day speech, whether in talking about “having no energy,” referring to the “high energy music” of her favorite band, or trying to reduce “energy consumption” to preserve the environment. During the lessons, Alice struggled to come to terms with some of the scientific ideas, which often seemed to go against common sense. Indeed, her teacher had warned that “this is always a difficult topic to get ...

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