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Unit information: Building Blocks of Chemistry in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Building Blocks of Chemistry
Unit code CHEM10013
Credit points 40
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Chris Adams
Open unit status Not open
Units you must take before you take this one (pre-requisite units)


Units you must take alongside this one (co-requisite units)


Units you may not take alongside this one
School/department School of Chemistry
Faculty Faculty of Science

Unit Information

Building Blocks of Chemistry aims to focus on the core knowledge and skills that underpin a degree in Chemistry. These are centred around three key themes:

  • Structure
  • Change
  • Analysis

These in turn will be broken down into eight components: Models; Periodicity; Shape 1; Shape 2; Reactivity 1; Reactivity 2; Characterisation; and Molecular Orbital Festival.
In teaching these themes, we aim to emphasise skills/problem solving over knowledge, to form explicit link between seemingly disparate content, and to show how chemistry addresses world problems.

To ensure that chemistry students have the skills and knowledge to underpin their study of chemistry.

Your learning on this unit

By the end of the unit students should be able to:

  • Analyse systems and data to predict and rationalise reactivity
  • Infer atomic structure and properties from the periodic table
  • Critique, compare, appraise and apply different scientific models
  • Accurately draw, model and predict molecular shape
  • Identify molecules and their behaviour from data and spectra
  • Discuss how chemistry can help solve real-life problems

How you will learn

We aim to use a blended learning approach involving a mixture of lecture, online resources, individual student led enquiry and team-based student led enquiry. Embedded within the unit we will use cornerstone and capstone components to address the role of chemistry in addressing global problems (e.g., Climate Change, Energy, Plastic Fantastic?, Health, How things work/Technology, Nanotechnology). The synoptic questions that will be use in the end-of-year exam will come exclusively from these capstone/cornerstone components.

Summary of approximate student workload:

Self-study and continuous assessment: 24 x 13 hours: 312 hours

Lectures/lecture equivalents: (24 x 3): 72 hours

Tutorials/workshops: 16 x 1 hours: 16 hours

Total: 400 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment for learning/Formative Assessment

Students will complete regular marked exercises as part of tutorials/workshops. Tasks leading to summative coursework will also be underpinned by either staff-led or peer-to-peer formative feedback.

Assessment of learning/'Summative Assessment

The unit will be assessed by coursework (50%) and a single timed, open-book end-of-year exam (50%). The exam will employ synoptic questions drawn from the cornerstone and capstone components of the unit problem-based chemistry questions. The coursework will be by means of:

• A number of small computer-marked tests, each contributing a percentage of the overall mark.
• Lab-report style extended writing report.
• Assessed group work - team-based exercise leading to a assessed group poster/infographic.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. CHEM10013).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.