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CHEM105 Foundations of Chemistry

Unit rationale, description and aim

An understanding of the organic chemistry of food macromolecules, within the context of food science is key for working within the food and nutrition industry. This requires foundation knowledge of the physical, biological, and chemical composition of food and its function. This unit aims to help students develop essential understanding of the theory and techniques employed to analyse the nutrient content of food as it relates to food content claims and health claims. This unit will also assist students develop an understanding, at the chemical level, the role that major macromolecules play within foods.

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.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - describe the function of key chemical components of foods (GA5)

LO2 - describe the structure and reactivity of a range of organic compounds according to the functional groups they possess (GA4, GA5, GA8)  

LO3 - predict the behaviour of some chemical systems under varying sets of conditions; (GA4, GA5, GA8)  

LO4 - understand key concepts related to free energy and biologically relevant electrochemistry (GA4, GA5, GA8) 

LO5 - demonstrate competence in the practical skills and techniques used in organic and food chemistry and analysis of experimental results (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8)  

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


Topics will include: 

  • Fuels and hydrocarbons 
  • Aromatic compounds 
  • Organic compounds and functional groups 
  • Stereoisomerism 
  • Electrochemistry and free energy 
  • Physical, biological, and chemical composition of biomolecules (e.g., macromolecules) in food (carbohydrates, protein, lipids, water) 
  • Food composition analysis 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

In keeping with the sequence of learning outcomes in this unit, the learning and teaching strategy adopted comprises three phases that are designed to provide students with a developmental learning experience. The unit begins with approaches designed to support acquisition of the knowledge needed understand the organic chemistry of food macromolecules. It builds on this by progressing to activities that support the development of a theoretical understanding of concepts and principles needed to inform skills development. The final stage involves approaches that support students in the application of their understanding in the development of skills needed. Thus, overall, the approaches used in this unit have a constructively aligned developmental sequence designed to progressively and logically support students learning in ways that maximise the perceived (and actual) relevance and value of each stage. As an overarching strategy, this is known to engender higher levels of engagement, efficiency and effectiveness in students’ study behaviours, and to maximise their learning achievements. Learning and teaching approaches include active learning, case-based learning, individual and group activities, cooperative learning, online learning, and reflective/critical thinking activities, delivered over 12 weeks. Specific approaches include lectures and tutorials where students will develop the theoretical knowledge related to organic and food chemistry, practical classes where students will develop practical skills and apply theoretical learnings. This strategy and approaches will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit. Learning and teaching approaches will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively in learning activities.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to achieve unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies are used in ways that support the developmental sequence of the learning and teaching strategy. Thus, the three phases of the strategy are reflected by integration of three appropriate assessment tasks. What follows are examples that have the requisite purpose:

Online quizzes (Part A: Organic chemistry; Part B: Food chemistry) to assess knowledge of key introductory chemistry concepts throughout the semester providing students with feedback on how they are progressing with the unit;

Practical assessment to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate development both their practical skills relevant to food and organic chemistry and their collection and interpretation of laboratory data.

The majority of the laboratory classes will be held on-campus with a few delivered online. Practical based assessments will consist of online practical quizzes and submission of written reports on a selection of experiments conducted as part of the practical series;

Final examination to provide final summative assessment of theoretical learning throughout the semester;

All written exams will be conducted online and will consist of multiple choice and short answer questions.

The assessment tasks will allow unit coordinators to assess students’ demonstration of the learning outcomes and attainment of graduate attributes.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Online quizzes (organised in two sessions)

Enables students to: apply their learning developed as they progress through the unit.

These will be conducted as timed, online quizzes.

10% + 10%

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA4, GA5, GA8 

Practical Assessment

Enables students to demonstrate application of knowledge and skills developed in the unit.

This assessment task will consist of online practical quizzes and submission of a written report on a selection of experiments conducted as part of the practical series.


LO2, LO5 

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8 

Written tests

Enable students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of unit content.

Part A of the written test will assess attainment of learning outcomes associated with the organic chemistry component whereas Part B will focus on the food chemistry component of the unit. These assessment items will be conducted online and will consist of multiple-choice questions and written short answer questions.

35% (Part A)


25% (Part B)

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8 

Representative texts and references

Belitz, H., Grosch, W. and Schieberle, P. (2009) Food chemistry. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag. 


Coultate, T. (2015) Food: The Chemistry of its components (6th Ed.). Cambridge, UK: Royal Society of Chemistry. 


Croxford, S., and Stirling, E. (2017) Understanding the Science of Food: From molecules to mouthfeel. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin Academic. 


Vaclavik, V., Christian , E.W. (2014) Essentials of Food Science (4th Ed.). New York, NY: Springer-Verlag. 


Velisek, J. (2014) The Chemistry of Food. Milton, Australia: Wiley-Blackwell. 

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