CHEM 120 : Chemistry of the Material World


2020 Semester One (1203) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The chemistry of the elements and their compounds is explored. The relationship between molecular structure and reactivity, the role of energy, concepts of bond formation and chemical equilibrium are discussed. Issues such as sustainability, energy and fuels, and the creation of new materials are also discussed. It is recommended that students with a limited background in chemistry take CHEM 150 prior to CHEM 120.

Course Overview

The chemistry of the elements and their compounds is explored. The relationship between molecular structure and reactivity, the role of energy, concepts of bond formation and chemical equilibrium are discussed. Topics covered include green chemistry, solution chemistry, useful transition metal compounds and the creation of new materials.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Predict the extent of physical or chemical processes at given temperatures and pressures using energetic principles. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 6)
  2. Describe covalent bonds using quantum theories and diagrams. (Capability 1, 2 and 4)
  3. Identify and describe the chemical reactivity and physical properties of inorganic compounds using scientific vocabulary and chemical equations. (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 6)
  4. Analyse and evaluate experimental data in order to test a hypothesis. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Test 20% Individual Test
Final Exam 45% Individual Examination
Quizzes 5% Individual Coursework
Tutorials 10% Individual Coursework
Laboratories 20% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Final Exam

A student must pass both the theory component and the practical component (laboratories) to gain an overall pass.


Tuākana tutorials are held weekly. For further information for eligible students, contact the Course coordinator.

Key Topics

  • Phases
  • Thermodynamics
  • Chemical equilibria
  • Atomic structure
  • Chemical bonding
  • Reactivity
  • Transition metals
  • Electrochemistry

Learning Resources

  • Required course book and laboratory manual
  • Textbook is recommended

Special Requirements

Attendance at laboratories is regarded as a compulsory part of this course. Wearing of a laboratory coat, covered footwear and suitable eye protection (e.g. safety glasses) is compulsory at all times when present in the laboratory. If a student does not wear adequate eye protection, appropriate footwear or a laboratory coat at all times, the student will be asked to leave the laboratory and will receive a fail for that laboratory.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard [15] point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect [3] hours of lectures, a [1] hour tutorial, [3] hours of reading and thinking about the content, and [1-3] hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation. Laboratories are held on alternate weeks, which are [3] hours each.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 11/01/2020 02:51 p.m.