Research in science education has revealed that students have alternative conceptions when learning various domains in science. The conflict map uses a series of discrepant events, critical events, relevant scientific conceptions and perceptions to promote student conceptual change. This study was conducted to examine the effects of using a conflict map on eighth graders' conceptual change and ideational networks about simple series electric circuits. Through a quasi-experimental research design, 93 of Taiwan's eighth graders were assigned to a control group, receiving traditional instruction, while 97 eighth graders were assigned to an experimental group, which used a conflict map as an instructional tool. Research data gathered from a two-tier test revealed that the conflict map could help students overcome alternative conceptions about simple series electric circuits. Student interview data, analysed through a flow map method, also showed that the use of conflict map could help students construct greater, richer and more integrated ideational networks about electric circuits.