Credit points


Campus offering

Find out more about study modes.

Unit offerings may be subject to minimum enrolment numbers.

Please select your preferred campus.

  • Term Mode
  • Foundation Studies Term 2Campus Attendance
  • Term Mode
  • Foundation Studies Term 2Campus Attendance
  • Term Mode
  • Foundation Studies Term 2Campus Attendance
  • Term Mode
  • Foundation Studies Term 2Online Scheduled



Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is built around the skills required for scientific investigation in a university context. Before entering into science degrees, students need to acquire a basic understanding of the purpose of scientific investigation, become familiar with the tools and safety procedures, and utilise appropriate terminology and communication methods in scientific writing. This scientific inquiry needs to be contextualised within broad introductory topics including scientific modelling, use of energy in society, human nutrition and ecosystems.

In this unit students will develop: i) skills in the cognitive and physical processes of scientific investigations; ii) knowledge and understanding of topical science concepts; iii) analytical thinking about scientific issues; and iv) skills for communicating about contemporary scientific issues. Students will develop and demonstrate their scientific knowledge, skills and processes through a range of assessments; including laboratory journals, short response quizzes, extended response questions, and an experimental investigation. 

The aim of this unit is to develop students’ inquiry skills and content knowledge in the area of Science. It is designed as a tertiary preparation unit that will facilitate students' developing learning and inquiry skills that integrate the content of Science with literacy, numeracy and digital literacy. The skills developed through this unit will be transferrable to other content areas and will also prepare students to complete FSSC002 Biology and FSSC003 Chemistry as well as science units in degree programs.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Explain ideas using scientific terminology, definitions, concepts and theories to develop explanations of real-world systems and patternsGC1, GC7
LO2Conduct investigations with scientific and technological equipment to safely gather data and information for formulating questions, hypothesising, experimenting and evaluating scientific issuesGC7, GC9, GC10
LO3Analyse scientific knowledge and processes to draw conclusions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informedGC1, GC7, GC8
LO4Communicate qualitative and quantitative information and ideas in a variety of ways using scientific convention and terminology in written, oral and multimedia formatsGC9, GC10, GC11, GC12


This unit aims to introduce and develop students’ scientific inquiry skills:

  • Scientific inquiry; conducting scientific investigations
  • Scientific inquiry skills; using and manipulating tools and resources
  • Communicating scientific ideas; using scientific genres for reporting and explaining
  • Communicating scientific data and evidence; using tables, graphs and diagrams
  • Using digital resources to communicate scientific data, evidence and ideas

The skills will be developed through investigations related to:

  • The study of science in a university context.
  • Scientific modelling.
  • Obtaining and using energy in society.
  • Human Nutrition
  • DNA .
  • Ecosystems

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Mode: Workshops on-campus or online synchronous and laboratory on campus weekly or in intensive mode. Intensive mode is 2 x 5-hour sessions on consecutive days on campus.

This unit will be taught using a sequence of workshops (3 hours a week) and laboratory sessions (2 hours/week or in intensive mode of 2 x 5 hours over 2 days). Workshops will incorporate a range of cooperative activities and discussions based on developing the scientific enquiry skills of students through a range of topics.. Laboratory sessions will involve students in both hands-on and research-based scientific investigations. Students will be expected to collate materials throughout the sessions to complete the investigations. Attendance at laboratory sessions will be required to complete the assessment for this unit.

Attendance Mode: A 10 week-term in Attendance mode. This includes 1 x 3 hour workshop and 1 x 2 hour laboratory session per week.

Online Mode: Students will attend weekly 3-hour workshops (online synchronous) and a 2-day intensive mid-way through the Term.

Students should anticipate undertaking 100 hours of study for this unit; including class attendance, readings and assignment preparation.

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessments are designed to support the students through the process of developing the scientific inquiry skills necessary for successful science study at ACU. Checkpoint quizzes provide formative learning and teaching opportunities within the unit. The experimental Report and Laboratory Journal provide opportunities for students to plan and construct investigations, to engage in regular scientific writing and to develop their report writing skills.

Assessment 1: Checkpoint Quizzes: Quizzes at the early, mid and late stage of the unit will assist the student and staff in understanding progress through the unit and assist in identifying which students may need additional support.

Assessment 2: Experimental Report: Students will work in small groups to plan and conduct a laboratory experiment. This data will be used to write an experimental report.

Assessment 3: Laboratory Journal: Completion and collation of materials from the laboratory sessions. Students will collect and analyse data and apply theoretical knowledge to interpret it. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Checkpoint Quizzes

Three quizzes spread over 10 weeks.


LO1, LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 2: Experimental Report

In groups, students plan, undertake and report on a scientific investigation related to workshop content.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 3: Laboratory Journal 

Completion and collation of materials from a selection of laboratory sessions.  


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

No representative texts for this unit. In-house created resources are supported by online videos, etc.

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs