Secondary project briefs (ages 11+)

Bronze Awards are typically completed by students aged 11+. They complete a ten-hour project which is a perfect introduction to STEM project work. Over the course of the project, teams of students design their own investigation, record their findings, and reflect on their learnings. This process gives students a taste of what it is like to be a scientist or engineer in the real-world.

Silver Awards are typically completed by students aged 14+ over thirty hours. Project work at Silver level is designed to stretch your students and enrich their STEM studies. Students direct the project, determining the project’s aim and how they will achieve it. They carry out the project, record and analyse their results and reflect on the project and their learnings. All Silver projects are assessed by CREST assessors via our online platform.

Gold Awards are typically completed by students aged 16+ over seventy hours. Students’ projects are self-directed, longer term and immerse them in real research. At this level, we recommend students work with a mentor from their chosen STEM field of study. All Gold projects are assessed by CREST assessors via our online platform. There are more CREST approved resources that have been developed by our partners and providers specific to your region.

There are more CREST approved resources that have been developed by our partners and providers specific to your region.

Find out how to build practical CREST projects into secondary science lessons using our free teacher guidance pack. Supporting this guidance are easy-to-use, free-to-download mapping workbooks, which match individual Bronze, Silver and Gold CREST Award projects with each area of the secondary science curricula for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. You can download and save your own copy of the relevant mapping workbook via the following links:


Northern Ireland



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4 years ago

A clean break

Study materials to learn about how to investigate breaks. This resource is published under an Attribution - non-commercial - no derivatives 4.0 International creative commons licence ( For more information visit our Terms and Conditions (

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Page 1 of 2 A clean break Sometimes, what looks like an accident turns out not to be. It may be vandalism, insurance fraud or even murder. Accident investigators need to establish whether an incident happened accidentally, or was caused deliberately. For instance, did something break through wear and tear, or was it tampered with? In this project, you will study various materials that have been broken in various ways. Your objective is to find ways of distinguishing between the various causes by studying the broken pieces. Getting Started How many ways of breaking (not cutting) solid materials can you think of? Devise and carry out experiments to see which types of materials break under various conditions. Gradually increasing tension: Hold strips of the material in a clamp and hang a mass so it pulls down on the material. Gradually add more masses until it stretches or breaks. It might be wise to design these experiments yourself but ask a trained adult to help you carry them out. If something needs a really large mass to break it, then just make a note of the fact – don’t keep increasing the mass until it does break! Examine and compare the broken edges. Working at the cutting edge of science: Try cutting and sawing the same materials. Examine the cut/sawn edges carefully, looking for telltale marks or patterns that indicate the separation method. Compare cut and sawn samples, and also compare them with the samples above. Investigate whether the type of blade or saw affects the results. Getting to know the ropes: Ropes are designed to be very flexible, so impact or bending won’t break them. They are also designed to withstand tension, so snapping would need more force than you could safely apply. Think up a way to scale down the experiment so that you can snap the fibres. A rope might also wear away by rubbing against a hard and/or rough surface. Think up a way of simulating this, to obtain samples that have worn through. Examine the fibres of cut, sawn, snapped and worn ropes. Look for telltale differences. Try both natural and synthetic fibre ropes. To see the effect of weathering, test string (for example, garden twine) that has been left out in the open air over winter. Compare it with new string of the same kind. Click to edit project description Things to think about You could investigate the effect of: Sudden impact, for example, dropping a mass onto the material Gradually increasing the load or the bend angle. Hold the material in a vice and hang a mass on one end, gradually add extra masses so the material bends. Flexing backwards and forwards Sudden tension, for example, if someone is attached to a climbing rope and they fall there will be a sudden tension pulling on the rope. How can a test ‘mimic’ this? Useful Resources Why not see if you can get in touch with real-life accident investigators Investigating a claim: Imagine that you are insurance claim investigators. You have been given two pieces of rope and you need to decide how the end of the rope became separated from the rest. Use the knowledge you gained above to examine the rope end and draw conclusions. Present your findings to the claims assessor with supporting evidence. Explain how the evidence supports your conclusions. .

Bronze level

Ten hour projects recommended for ages 11+. Find out more about this level and how to gain a CREST Award on the Bronze Awards page.

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Silver level

Thirty hour projects recommended for ages 14+. Find out more about this level and how to gain a CREST Award on the Silver Award page.

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Gold level

Seventy hour projects recommended for ages 16+. Find out more about this level and how to gain a CREST Award on the Gold Awards page

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