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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Palmed off Project brief Have you ever wondered how the food on your plate impacts the planet’s rainforests? Palm oil is found in over half of the products we use. The growing and harvesting of palm oil provides jobs, it is efficient to produce, and uses less pesticides than other crops. But it was also responsible for 8% of the world’s deforestation from 1990 to 2008. In this project you will investigate the use of palm oil and its effect on the rainforest. To begin, complete some research on rainforests and their importance as an ecosystem. Use the ‘Things to think about’ section to help your research. Imagine you are an Environmental Researcher working on a new television documentary that’s investigating the use of palm oil and its effect on the rainforest. Find out: • Key statistics to be reported on in the documentary • Which areas of the rainforest have been affected so the presenter can visit them during filming • How these areas differ to those unaffected by the use of palm oil Raid your cupboards! Start off by finding out where there is palm oil in your own home. Check the ingredients listed on packaging of food you eat and the products you use (such as shampoo and soaps). Find out if those containing palm oil use a sustainable source. Look into the pros and cons of using palm oil. Even if you have a firm opinion on the use of palm oil, remember to make sure your research considers different viewpoints. Find out some statistics about how many products contain palm oil, what alternatives exist, and what makes a sustainable source of palm oil sustainable. Next use map data to support your investigation into the industry’s effects on deforestation. Where in the world should the documentary team film to get on-the-ground footage? Find out statistics such as the area of landmass affected and the wildlife impacted. Things to think about • What are the good things about palm oil? Why is it used so widely? • What are the negatives of using palm oil? • Why do we need the rainforest? • What is being done to protect the rainforest? • What is the solution? Should we stop using palm oil completely? Useful resources A group called the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) formed in 2003 to help the palm oil industry work together to stop palm oil damaging the planet: rspo.org/about A project of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), dedicated to promoting the benefits of Malaysian Palm Oil: theoilpalm.org The world’s leading independent conservation organisation. Their mission is to create a world where people and wildlife can thrive together. It helped set up the RSPO: wwf.org.uk iLEAPS website: ileaps.org/ Health and safety To avoid any accidents, make sure you stick to the following health and safety guidelines before getting started: • Find out if any of the materials, equipment or methods are hazardous by using science.Cleapss.Org.Uk/resou rces/student-safety-sheets/ • Assess the risks (think about what could go wrong and how serious it might be) • Take care with cleaning products and any which display hazard symbols. • Decide what you need to do to reduce any risks (such as wearing personal protective equipment, knowing how to deal with emergencies and so on) • Make sure your teacher agrees with your plan and risk assessment. 8
In the air Project brief Have you ever wondered about what is in the air you breathe? Here, there and everywhere – air is all around us. Globally, air pollution is a growing problem to health and the environment. So, what can we do when we can’t even see the issue that is literally under our nose? In this project you will investigate air pollution levels. Conduct some research into air pollution, its causes and its effects. Use this research to think about why pollution might be worse in some areas compared to others. Imagine you are an Air Quality Consultant working for a clean air initiative investigating air pollution levels. You need to: • Measure air pollution levels in two locations • Compare your results to tree coverage in the areas Research and design an experiment to measure air pollution at your chosen locations. You could use sticky tape to collect samples of pollution from different surfaces, leaving them there for a period of time, then using a magnifying glass to count the particles that have stuck to the sticky tape. Make sure the locations you use aren’t too close together to ensure you get two separate sets of data. You may want to have a control set of data for comparison. Test your experiment to check it works. Are there any areas where you know the pollution levels will be different? You could use these to check your experiment can tell the pollution levels apart. Once you’ve tested your idea, devise a way to improve your method to make your measurements more accurate. Using your improved method, go to your chosen locations and get your data. Head online and find satellite images of your two locations. Compare the data you collected with the tree coverage shown in the satellite images. Things to think about • How can you make sure your experiment is fair? • How many samples will you take at each location? • How long will you take to collect each sample? • What are the variables in your experiment that could affect your results? • How will you compare your findings to the tree coverage? • What changes would you need to make to your experiment to track air pollution over a long period of time? Useful resources Government publications on air pollution: gov.uk/government/c ollections/air-quality-andemissions-statistics Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ annual air quality reports: ukair.defra.gov.uk/library/annualre port/ An interactive map showing results of Urban Forest Canopy assessments: urbantreecover.or g/ iLEAPS website: ileaps.org/ Health and safety To avoid any accidents, make Sure you stick to the following health and safety guidelines before getting started: • Find out if any of the materials, equipment or methods are hazardous by using science.Cleapss.Org.Uk/resou rces/student-safety-sheets/ • Assess the risks (think about what could go wrong and how serious it might be) • Be aware of what’s happening around you. Only do your experiment when it’s safe to do so. • Plan your route before you go and always follow the green cross code. • Decide what you need to do to reduce any risks (such as wearing personal protective equipment, knowing how to deal with emergencies and so on) • Make sure your teacher agrees with your plan and risk assessment. 9