Credit points


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Unit rationale, description and aim

Chemistry is an integral component of the world we live in, both macroscopic and microscopic. To make sense of our world and its inherent problems, particularly those within the field of health sciences, it is essential that students acquire a basic understanding of how atoms, which make up all chemicals, interact with each other. This knowledge will ultimately help students hypothesize and investigate how chemical interactions might be manipulated to improve human health and disease outcomes.

In this unit students will be taught the basic structure of the atom and how this structure affects atomic bonding and a variety of chemical reactions. Students will also explore the key reaction concepts and calculations that scientists employ on a daily basis to study a range of chemical and biochemical (the chemistry of life) phenomena.

The aim of this unit is to prepare students for entry into tertiary chemistry study by improving their chemistry knowledge and ability to develop, use and demonstrate key scientific skills. These skills include the capacity to formulate research questions and hypotheses and create evidence-based conclusions that are consistent with their own experimental results aligned with current accepted theories of chemical behaviour.

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- Recognize the difference between the strength and concentration of acids, and relate this to the principles of chemical equilibrium (GA4, GA5, GA8) 

LO2 - Apply knowledge of the characteristics of chemical equilibrium, including as they relate to gases and solutions, to explain and predict how these are affected by changes to temperature, concentration and pressure (GA4, GA5, GA8) 

LO3 - Apply knowledge of atomic structure and models of chemical bonding to explain the organization and properties of elements and compounds (GA4, GA5, GA8) 

LO4 - Compare and contrast the construction and functioning of galvanic and electrolytic cells within the context of redox reactions and the transfer of electrons (GA4, GA5, GA8) 

LO5 - Conduct, evaluate and communicate the results of scientific investigations with appropriate language and terminology. (GA7, GA9, GA10) 

LO6 - Work both autonomously and collaboratively to critically evaluate scientific information in order to present valid positions that are logical and informed by current theoretical understanding (GA4, GA5, 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 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include: 

  • The structure of the atom. 
  • The basis of the organisation of the periodic table and the periodic trends including the Schrödinger model of the atom, electronic configuration, effective nuclear charge (Zeff), electronegativity, ionization energy and atomic radii.  
  • Ionic, covalent, metallic and dative bonding. 
  • Chemical reactions, stoichiometry and equilibrium. 
  • Quantifying atoms and compounds. 
  • Solutions and gases. 
  • Acids and Bases. 
  • Electrochemistry 
  • Organic Chemistry. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Mode for International Students:  Attendance on Campus. 5 hours per week.  


Mode for Domestic Students: Multi-mode: attendance on campus: 3 hours per week plus 2 hours online learning.  


Duration: 10-week Term  

Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner as well as a team-member and contributor. Practical and tutorial lessons use active, small-group and cooperative learning tasks where students work together on a given project. The success of the individual depends on the success of the group and so students must work as part of a collaborative and well-functioning team. Answers and extensive feedback are provided within the tutorial and practical sessions.  

Lectures aim to support students in their own inquiry-based learning. The sessions are interactive and content will assist students in answering the authentic, chemistry-based questions provided in the text book, the tutorials and as part of the practical reporting tasks. These teaching strategies have been chosen to best promote individual and group learning for students who have either some or no previous chemistry education and so require a high-level of support and guidance from teaching staff. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessment tasks within this unit are criterion-referenced which means the teaching staff set certain standards of achievement (criteria) in advance and the performance of each student is evaluated according to those criteria. The criteria for each assessment item are based around the unit learning outcomes. There are practical-based and quiz-based assessment tasks within this unit. The weekly practical sessions are designed to keep students up-to-date with their learning. As part of the practical assessment, each student will apply their theoretical knowledge and interpret experimental results to inform the adequate completion of their practical manual. This manual has a series of pre-practical and intra-practical questions that must be completed and submitted for assessment at the end of the semester. Practical results must be interpreted within the context of the artefacts (technical issues and problems with the methods themselves) that occurred within the laboratory session.   

The intra-semester quizzes (five in total) and final exam assess the student’s engagement with the theoretical content presented within this unit. Students will be supported with weekly tutorial sessions and a list of end-of-chapter questions from the prescribed textbook. Students will also have the ability to freely communicate with each other and the lecturing staff to help clarify any content that is unclear. 

In order to pass this unit, students are required to: 

Achieve a final grade of 50% or more as an aggregate score of all points from assessment tasks completed in this unit. 

Note: Students are expected to attend al classes including practical lab sessions. To achieve a Pass in this unit, students must complete at least 90% of practical sessions. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Hurdle Task:  

Students must complete a minimum of 90% of lab sessions. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6, LO7 

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Practical Assessments   

Students will submit their practical notebooks for marking. The practical assessment allows students an opportunity to display their growing understanding of their content knowledge, trouble-shooting ability and hands-on technical skill. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6, LO7 

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Semester Quizzes   

The semester quizzes are short, closed book tests that assess student knowledge of the unit content. Feedback is provided quickly (the following week), allowing students to gauge their progress, and to seek assistance if they wish. These tests help prepare the students for the final exam, having questions of the same standard to those on the exam 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6 

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8 

Written Examination (2 hrs.)  

The final exam assesses material from all content areas including practical sessions. Having been provided with feedback from the earlier assessments, students are now able to address misunderstandings and conceptual difficulties identified from these earlier tasks and show that they have now met the associated learning objectives. 


LOs 1 - 6

GA 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 

Representative texts and references

Bettelheim, F.A. et al. (2020). Introduction to general, organic and biochemistry (12th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning ISBN 9781337571357  

Kotz, J.C., Treichel, P., Townsend, J., & Treichel, D. (2019). Chemistry & chemical reactivity (10th ed.). Australia: Cengage Learning. ISBN 9781337399074. 

Zumdahl, S., & DeCoste, D. (2019). Introductory chemistry (9th ed.). USA: Cengage Learning. ISBN 9781337399425  

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