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CHED105 Foundations of Chemistry , CHEM103 - Introduction to Chemistry

Unit rationale, description and aim

The science of chemistry is the foundation upon which many innovations in industry and breakthroughs in scientific research arise. To progress towards a career as a biomedical professional, students require a sound background in the basic chemical concepts that are covered in this unit.

This unit introduces the foundation principles of chemistry which are essential for the further study of the chemical, biological and environmental sciences. Topics taught include atomic structure, the elements, molecules, compounds, chemical bonding, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, chemical equilibrium, acids, bases, pH, buffers and radioactivity. Students will also develop laboratory skills through a comprehensive practical component.

This unit aims to form the foundation for subsequent chemistry units, providing knowledge of basic chemistry principles and assimilation of their significance in biological and environmental context, through scenario-based problems and laboratory experiments.

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 key chemical concepts associated with matter, its structure, interactions and classification (GA4, GA5) 

LO2 - Demonstrate proficiency in writing chemical formulae and chemical reactions (GA4, GA5) 

LO3 - Appraise the influence and significance of chemistry in biological and environmental context (GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8) 

LO4 - Demonstrate practical chemistry skills and perform relevant laboratory tasks safely and effectively (GA7, GA8) 

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

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: 

  • Matter and measurement 
  • Atomic structure and periodic table 
  • Bonding, structure and properties 
  • Chemical reactions and stoichiometry 
  • Chemical equilibrium 
  • Solutions 
  • Gases
  • Acids and bases 
  • Radioactivity 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Lecture sessions encourage participation and offer opportunities for students to obtain feedback to questions in real-time.

Tutorials involve work on weekly question sets related to the lecture content and are designed so that staff can provide regular guidance and feedback to students on application of content knowledge.

In the laboratory, students will undertake group and individual practical experiments related to theoretical content. These sessions encourage engagement with peers and development of individual laboratory skills and practical connections to the  lecture and tutorial content.

These inquiry-based learning strategies have been chosen to best promote active learning so that all students, including those who have little or no previous chemistry education, receive appropriate support and guidance from teaching staff.

Assessment strategy and rationale

This unit aims to provide students with a foundational understanding of basic chemistry concepts and techniques, to be built upon in subsequent chemistry units. A hurdle task – i.e., a bridging course provided early into the semester, prepares students for initial unit content and provides a measure of assumed knowledge upon commencing the unit. 

The intra-semester quizzes assess the students’ engagement and understanding with the theoretical unit content. Students are supported with weekly lecture and tutorial sessions, revision questions and end-of-chapter questions from the prescribed textbook. Communication with lecturing staff is encouraged to help clarify unclear content, provide regular opportunities for feedback and assist reflection on the teaching material.

Laboratory assessment tasks will appraise students’ laboratory technique, data collection and evaluation skills.

The final exam assesses material from all content areas. Having been provided with feedback from the earlier assessment tasks, previous misunderstandings and conceptual difficulties can be corrected and students can demonstrate achievement of all learning objectives.

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.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Bridging Course (Hurdle) 

To ensure the students have sufficient basic chemistry understanding to commence the unit  


LO1, LO4 

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8 

Semester Quizzes

The bi-weekly semester quizzes are short tests to assess unit content periodically through the semester. Feedback is provided quickly, allowing students to gauge their progress, and to seek assistance if they wish. 


LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8 

Practical Assessments

The practical assessment allows students an opportunity to display their understanding of practical chemistry techniques, related to practical classes in which they have participated



GA7, GA8 

Written Examination

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


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4  

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8 

Representative texts and references

Bettelheim, F. A., Brown, W.H. Campbell, M. K., Farrell, S., and Torres, O.J., (2019) ‘Introduction to General, Organic and Biochemistry’ (12th ed) Boston: Thomson Brook/Cole Publishers

Brown T.L., LeMay H.E., Burston B.E., Murphy C., Woodward P., Langford S., Sagatys D. and George A. (2013) ‘Chemistry: The Central Science’ (14th ed.) New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc

Blackman A.B., Bottle S., Schmid S., Mocerino M and Wille U. (2016) ‘Chemistry’ (4th ed.), Milton: John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd

Kotz, J.C., Treichel P.M. and Townsend J.R. (2012) ‘Chemistry and Chemical Reactivity’ (10th ed.), Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning

Zumdahl S.S. and DeCoste D. (2015) ‘Introductory Chemistry: a Foundation (9thed.), California: Cengage Learning, Inc.

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