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.
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Art restoration Every major art gallery has a scientific department, or easy access to scientific knowledge. There are many modern scientific techniques to find out about the sorts of materials and methods artists used – when we look at a painting now it’s not always the same as when the artist painted it many years ago, lots of materials change over the years because of chemical changes caused by interaction with light or oxygen for example. For this project, you will carry out different tests on various types of paints - you could even make some paints yourself. Getting Started Start by researching the history of paint in art. What did early artists use? How did they colour their paints? What pigments were available to them? What are ‘lake’ pigments? What different oils are used to make oil-based paints? What are the advantages and disadvantages of oilbased paints? There are numerous different sorts of test you can carry out: Environmental changes: Changes due to environmental conditions are unlikely to occur during the time span of your project, after all, paints are designed not to deteriorate within a few years. Try accelerating the ageing process by using high intensity artificial lights (including UV, maybe), high temperature and/or humidity, or temperature/humidity cycling, etc. Suitable solvents: Quite often the reason old paintings darken is because of deterioration of the varnish. Carry out investigations to find suitable solvents to remove varnish but keep the painting intact. Loss of gloss: Another common problem with paint is the loss of ‘gloss’. Devise a method of measuring the proportion of light reflected, then refine the method to measure the amount of light scattered at various angles. Remember, angle of reflection = angle of incidence. Click to edit project description Making paint: All the tests you carry out should be conducted on different types of paint. As well as the variety of commercially available paint, you could try making your own. Try making your own pigments and ‘lakes’ (hopefully your earlier research will have unearthed an explanation of this – if not, search again!). Then make paints by mixing pigments with various binders - for example egg, for tempera, or oils such as linseed or poppy seed. You can buy pigments as well as making your own. Things to think about As well as the variety of commercially available paint, you could try making your own. Try making your own pigments and ‘lakes’ (hopefully your earlier research will have unearthed an explanation of this – if not, search again!). Then make paints by mixing pigments with various binders - for example egg, for tempera, or oils such as linseed or poppy seed. You can buy pigments as well as making your own. Useful Resources You can also look at different ways of restoring old paintings. You could try contacting an analytical chemist from an art gallery, or a university department specialising in art conservation and restoration for help.