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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How does cooking change pasta? Pasta is mainly sold as dried shapes or strands that are hard and brittle. After cooking for only a short time they become soft and flexible. In this project, you’re going to investigate how cooking pasta affects its properties. You’ll see if this is linked to how starch in pasta in altered during cooking. Getting Started Have a look for starch grains present in uncooked pasta. Look at a variety of different types of pasta, for example ones with different ingredients. Use the instructions below to help you, making a note of what you’ll need: Soak a piece of pasta in water to soften it up a little. Mash the pasta up. Scrape up a little of the mashed pasta and place it onto a microscope slide. Put a drop of 0.01M iodine solution onto the mashed pasta. Careful, iodine solution may stain skin and clothing. Examine the specimen using a light microscope. You should see the starch grains stained blue-black by the iodine solution. Count the number of starch grains present. Draw a diagram of what you see. Investigating the effect of cooking on pasta: Cook each of your different types of pasta according to the instructions on the packet. When they’ve cooked and cooled down see how they’ve changed physically Record the differences you observe between the uncooked and cooked pasta. Things to think about Are they a different size? You’ll need to measure the pasta before cooking so you can compare this. • How hard are they compared to before cooking? Is there a way you can measure this? • How easily can they be torn or pulled apart? Is there a way you can measure this? • Look for the starch grains in the cooked pasta using the technique above. Useful Resources Why not try different kinds of pasta and see the effects on these? Cooking the perfect pasta: Although cooking pasta is quite straightforward people have different ways of improving the standard instructions you’ll find on the packet. They add oil or salt to the water the pasta is cooked in. Adding oil is supposed to help prevent the pasta sticking together as it cooks. You could cook some pasta using varying amounts of oil or different types of oils. Click to edit project description See if it improves how much the pasta sticks together during cooking. Compare the water the pasta has been cooked in to see how much starch is present. You can add iodine solution to do this. Look for starch grains in the cooked pasta under the microscope. Can you come up with instructions for cooking pasta so it sticks together as little as possible?