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Students’ conceptions about energy and the human body

Author(s): Michael Mann | David F Treagust

Journal: Science Education International
ISSN 1450-104X

Volume: 21;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 144;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Energy | human body | biology | alternative conceptions | secondary school | energy conversions | cellular processes.

Students’ understanding of energy has been primarily within the domain ofphysics. This study sought to examine students’ understanding of conceptsrelating to energy and the human body using pencil and paperquestionnaires administered to 610 students in Years 8-12. From students’responses to the questionnaires, conceptual patterns were ascertained andorganized under three assertions and several alternative conceptions, whichvaried with students’ age, were identified. Alternative conceptions that havenot been previously reported in the science education research literaturewere related to the nature and functions of carbohydrates and fats as wellas physiological processes, like respiration and digestion.

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