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  • Semester 1Multi-mode



Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit develops the foundational knowledge of scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical principles and the confidence to apply those principles to design problems that will provide a firm foundation for further study in the discipline of Design and Technologies. This unit also contributes to an accredited sequence of Design and Technologies units that is recognised by state-based Initial Teacher Education standards authorities (NESA, VIT and QCT) and aligns with the Australian Curriculum: Design and Technologies.

Students will explore foundational Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) concepts and principles. Laboratory experiments and activities will deepen students’ understanding of STEM principles and allow them to investigate their utility in food, textile, material and product design technologies. Knowledge and skills in laboratory experimentation, report writing, and safe use of materials and equipment will be developed.

The aim of this unit is to help students develop knowledge and understanding of STEM concepts and principles which will be applied in subsequent units in the technologies sequence.

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
LO1Identify and discuss STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) concepts and principlesGC1, GC9, GC12
LO2Utilise scientific methods to investigate STEM principles relating to food, textile and industrial technologies and materialsGC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC9
LO3Critically analyse experimental results and report findings in a laboratory reportGC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC11


Topics will include:

Methods and Practice 

  • Safe use of materials and equipment 
  • The scientific method 
  • Laboratory report writing 


  • Structure 
  • Function 
  • Properties 
  • Chemical bonds 
  • Chemical reactions 
  • Technological applications 
  • Engineering principles and systems 


  • Measurement 
  • Basic arithmetic and algebra 
  • Perimeters, areas and volumes 
  • Plane geometry 
  • Linear and simultaneous equations 
  • Trigonometry 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

A student-focused, problem-based learning approach is used in this unit. Students encounter concepts and principles of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through lectures and tutorials. Concepts are discussed and understanding of them broadened through experiments and practical activities. STEM skills are introduced through a practice-oriented learning method. This involves the parallel development of procedural and conceptual skills required for design, development and evaluation of materials and methods in technologies. The unit aims to enable the development of conceptual, procedural and professional knowledge and skill which needed to investigate and solve problems in technologies contexts.

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 across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video etc. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The problem-based learning strategy employed in this unit is supported by the integration of progressive tasks completed at critical points of the students’ learning. Theoretical conceptual knowledge and practical skills-based knowledge are developed simultaneously in that acquisition and assimilation of knowledge develops during application of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics principles and skills in design practices. Initially students acquire knowledge in STEM principles in the lectures and tutorials and develop experimental and report writing skills through practical workshop classes. Tutorials and practical workshops provide opportunities for formative assessment which supports assimilation of knowledge of methods and skills in the practical setting. Summative assessment aims to assess students’ application of STEM knowledge, skills (conceptual, procedural) and competencies through mathematics tasks, laboratory reports and an examination. In this unit the method aims to assess students’ achievement of a synthesis between STEM theory and practice. Therefore, the main assessment method used are laboratory reports and an examination.

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit objectives consistent with University assessment requirements. Such procedures may include examinations, tutorial exercises, tutorial quizzes, reports and practical lab experiments. Assessment tasks will address all learning outcomes as well as relevant graduate attributes.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1  

Mathematics quiz: Requires students to demonstrate application of mathematical skills. 



Assessment Task 2  

Laboratory reports: Requires students to apply scientific principles and methods and report on findings. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

Assessment Task 3  

Examination: Requires students to demonstrate synthesis of knowledge of STEM principles and their application in technologies. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

Representative texts and references

Alldis, B.K., & Kelly, V. (2012). Mathematics for technicians (7th ed.). North Ryde, NSW: McGraw-Hill Education. 

Aylward, G., & Findlay, T. (2013). SI chemical data (7th ed.). Milton, Qld: Jacaranda Wiley. 

Bootsma, K., Badger, D., & Hamper, S. (2013). New century maths: Advanced 9 for the Australian curriculumNSW stages 5.2/5.3. South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning. 

Croxford, S., & Stirling, E. (2017). Understanding the science of food: From molecules to mouthfeel. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin. 

Kaldolph, S.J. (2017). Textiles (12th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson. 

Knight, R. (2016). Physics for scientists and engineers: A strategic approach with modern physics (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. 

Smith, W.F., & Hashemi, J. (2018). Foundations of materials science and engineering (6th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill. 

Timberlake, K. C., & Timberlake, W. (2017). Basic chemistry (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson. 

Zumdahl, S.S., & DeCoste, D.J. (2019). Introductory chemistry: A foundation (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning. 



CSIRO Manufacturing Science and Technology 

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