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SCI1901 Science Fundamentals

Semester 1, 2014 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Agric, Comp and Environ Sciences

Contents on this page


Examiner: Alex Hons
Moderator: Brad Carter


An enthusiasm for and an understanding of science and its processes is essential if we are to produce skilled individuals with the capacity to identify, and develop effective solutions to current and future challenges for the world and Australia in particular. A basic knowledge and understanding of key areas of science and skills in critically analysing new developments and proposed solutions to problems is required if we are to adequately evaluate options proposed by science and technology. The course will be suitable for current teachers and future teachers and other professionals seeking to upgrade their knowledge of science.


This course provides an introduction to science as a process of inquiry and to key areas of science that underpin many of the disciplines of science and technology. The course examines energy and forces, physical and chemical properties of materials, the shaping of the earth and the properties of its rocks and minerals, evolution of living things and their characteristics, structure and function of the human body, human impacts on ecosystems and landscapes and the concept of sustainability. The course is aimed primarily at students with little prior knowledge of science, who seek increased knowledge and skills in science, to assist in professional accreditation and personal development.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. List and explain the steps in the process of science;
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between science and technology;
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of forces, energy transformations and renewable energy;
  4. Classify materials and describe their physical and chemical properties;
  5. Differentiate between elements, compounds and mixtures;
  6. Describe the processes shaping the earth;
  7. Explain how the solar system influences the earth?s day/night cycle and explain weather and climate;
  8. Classify rocks and minerals and describe their properties;
  9. Describe and classify living things and outline evidence for their evolution;
  10. Outline the structure and function of the human body;
  11. Outline the human and cultural effects of humans on ecosystems and landscapes.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Science: A Process of Enquiry
Examines the scientific method and how science is presented and applied.
2. Energy and Forces:
Energy transformations and the effects of forces on motion
3. Materials:
Physical and chemical properties of materials.
4. The Solar System and Shaping of the Earth:
Examines the evolution of ideas on the solar system and processes that have shaped the earth.
5. Living Things:
Examines living things from the cellular level to food webs.
6. Structure and Function of The Human Body:
Structure and function of the digestive, circulatory, respiratory and excretory systems.
7. Human Impacts on the Earth:
Examines the ways in which human activities have affected the earth?s climate, ecosystems and landscapes.

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Trefil, J and Hazen, R 2013, The Sciences An Integrated Approach, 7th edn, Wiley, USA.
    (ISBN 9781118185261.)

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assignments 15.00
Assignments 15.00
Directed Study 95.00
Examinations 2.00
Private Study 45.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 100 20 14 Apr 2014
ASSIGNMENT 2 100 20 30 May 2014
2Hr Restricted Exam PTA 30 18 End S1 (see note 1)
2Hr Restricted Exam PTB 70 42 End S1 (see note 2)

  1. The examination date will be available during the semester. Please refer to the examination timetable when published.
  2. The examination date will be available during the semester. Please refer to the examination timetable when published.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    This is a restricted examination. Candidates are allowed access only to specific materials during a Restricted Examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the restricted examination for this course are: calculators which cannot hold textual information (students must indicate on their examination paper the make and model of any calculator(s) they use during the examination); writing materials (non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination). Students whose first language is not English, may, take an appropriate unmarked non-electronic translation dictionary (but not technical dictionary) into the examination. Dictionaries with any handwritten notes will not be permitted. Translation dictionaries will be subject to perusal and may be removed from the candidate's possession until appropriate disciplinary action is completed if found to contain material that could give the candidate an unfair advantage.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ via the electronic assignment submission environment (EASE) on the course website. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be produced within five days if required by the Examiner. In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a Show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next day. Students are to note on the assignment cover the date of the public holiday for the Examiner's convenience.

  2. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete-Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete-Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  3. Students must use the assignment template (.doc document) provided on the course Website for electronic submission of assignments. The templates include an assignment cover page and marking criteria and must be submitted in a Microsoft Office Word 2007 compatible format.

  4. In accordance with Faculty of Sciences and USQ regulations, applications for extensions to assignment due dates must be made in writing to the Examiner before the assignment due date. Applications for extensions must be accompanied by appropriate documentary evidence.

  5. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide. //