This article describes a study carried out in Israel which deals with the identification of high school pupils’ beliefs about energy, both before and after formal instruction in physics. In so doing, several of the alternative frameworks reported in the literature were redefined. Based on the findings obtained, an elementary course was developed and implemented which teaches the scientific view of energy while taking into account the prior beliefs adhered to by the pupils. The article also describes experiences in implementing this course, in using ‘comparative events’ which helped pupils move from the anthropocentric framework, wherein energy is associated only with human beings, to the more appropriate scientific view. Subsequent articles will deal with the process of conceptual change as pupils move from two other common alternative frameworks to the scientific view.
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