Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

3 hours per week for twelve weeks or equivalent of lectures, tutorials, project and fieldwork which may include face-to-face, online and related research and activities

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit contributes to the development of background knowledge and skills related to the ‘big ideas’ of science and technology and how these have contributed to our present understandings of the known universe. The unit lays a foundation that enables students to develop a deeper understanding of the historical, contemporary and social nature of science and technology and how both play a significant role in society. In this unit, science is portrayed as a particular ‘way’ of observing, making sense of and understanding the world; technology is portrayed as a way of engaging with and shaping the world.

This unit aims to provide pre-service teachers with the foundation knowledge and skills to develop an understanding of the historical, contemporary and social nature of science and technology.

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 - demonstrate an understanding of key science concepts (GA4, GA8)

LO2 - evaluate how different technologies shape the world and influence the design of products and processes to meet different societal needs (GA4, GA8)

LO3 - analyse and evaluate the impact of science and the technologies in the past, present and future (GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO4 - demonstrate scientific literacy by communicating with clarity and fluency in a range of forms and for a variety of purposes (GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO5 - demonstrate technological literacy by applying the processes of technology to design and evaluate products and/or processes (GA5, GA8, GA10)

LO6 - engage in independent and collaborative learning while learning about the ‘big ideas’ of science and technology (GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10).

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

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 nature of science, and the nature of technology;
  • Scale and measurement related to: time (formation of the universe, geological time scale, evolutionary time scale) and distance (astronomical distances, atomic distances);
  • Patterns, order and organisation as a way to make sense of the world including: observed environmental changes, and the classification of living things and non-living objects
  • Matter and energy focussing on different forms, and the nature of their interactions
  • Stability and change related to cause and effect in: living things; the environment; and chemical and physical systems
  • Form and function related to: materials and objects; design for sustainability; features of livings things for survival
  • Technological systems related to design and computation.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Pre-service teachers will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to progress and demonstrate their understandings in this unit. Participants will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to support learning, including: lectures, tutorials, project and fieldwork. This may include face-to-face, online and related research and activities.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total with a normal expectation of 36 hours of directed study and the total contact hours should not exceed 36 hours. Directed study might include lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours then becomes private study.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed to allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the unit learning outcomes and demonstrate attainment of professional standards.

The tasks require students to design and conduct a research project that creates, trials and reports on a product that demonstrates understanding of an identified science concept.

Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Research Project


LO4, LO5, LO6

GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Other assessment tasks may include:

  • Report/presentation
  • Investigation
  • Exam/test


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Bryson, B. (2004). A short history of nearly everything. London: Black Swan.

Dear, P. R. (2006). The intelligibility of nature: How science makes sense of the world. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Farrow, S. (2006). The really useful science book. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Flannery, T. (2005). The future eaters: An ecological history of the Australasian lands and people. Sydney: Reed New Holland.

Gott, R., & Duggan, S. (2003). Understanding and using scientific evidence: How to critically evaluate data. [electronic resource]. London: Sage.

Kruszelnicki, K. (2002). Dr. Karl’s collection of great Australian facts and firsts. Pymble: Harper Collins.

Pittock, A. (2009). Climate change: The science, impacts and solutions. Collingwood, Victoria: CSIRO Publishing.

Waller, J. (2004). Fabulous science. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Appropriate Journals and Websites

Animations for an Introduction to Chemistry

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