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.
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:
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INVESTIGATIVE PRACTICAL SCIENCE IN THE CURRICULUM What is involved when embedding open-ended investigative practical work into the curriculum? A-level Schools in the pilot study embedded open-ended investigative practical work into the curriculum either by extending a required practical or adapting a CREST resource to the A-level curriculum content, in order to extend and apply knowledge. Due to time constraints Bronze and Silver CREST Awards were most likely to be used, unless students were also studying the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), where the project was extended by individual students to allow for dual entry (EPQ and Gold CREST Award). All participant schools mentioned the importance of teaching the essential procedural knowledge and basic practical skills, e.g. how to use specialist equipment or carry out a statistical test, before or during the planning stage of the project. The practical work carried out for the CREST Award can be used to assess the following Common Practical Assessment Criteria (CPAC): 2b, 2c, 2d, 3a, 3b, 5a and 5b for AQA, Eduqas, Pearson (Edexcel) and OCR. Schools made use of a range of required practicals (RP) including: Biology The use of aseptic techniques to investigate the effect of antimicrobial substances on microbial growth. Students completed the required practical and were then given the opportunity to expand the experiment to investigate the prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in their local environment. The project was linked out to various topic areas in the specification, including immunity, natural selection, and the use of statistics as well as microbiology. Students completed a mixture of Bronze and Silver Awards. See case study on page 18. Chemistry Qualitative analysis of organic functional groups. An adaptation of the CREST resource ‘Detecting food fraud’. Students were supplied with a number of samples in order to determine whether they had been contaminated by any of the organic groups in Practical Activity Group 7 (PAG 7). It encouraged the more reluctant students to apply their knowledge to the real world. Anjna, lead practitioner and i/c Chemistry 10
MAKING IT HAPPEN As I was doing this as an assignment for my course it was not extra. Year 13 student Chemistry The preparation of an organic solid and test of its purity. Normally this RP would be completed in Year 13, but the teachers in the pilot school changed the teaching order to accommodate the practical in Year 12. Students initially made aspirin, starting with oil of wintergreen. This enabled the teacher to scaffold the practical skills and talk students through the process. Once they were familiar with the process the students carried out research to identify potential areas of investigation. There were a variety of projects covering topics such as recrystallisation, changing the acid catalyst and the bioavailability through a viscous membrane. See case study on page 16. Physics Determination of resistivity of a wire using a micrometer, ammeter and voltmeter. The pilot school adapted the CREST Silver resource ‘How steady is your hand?’ to link it to KS5 electricity, resistivity, current and potential difference as well as Required Practical 5 (RP5). Students were taught the practical skills and knowledge and completed RP5 in the normal way. They then undertook the CREST Award as an extension to the practical and as a means of applying their knowledge, understanding and skills. The students completed a Bronze Award (10 hours in total with approximately 5 hours of practical work). See case study on page 14. OCR PAG 12 Research skills particularly lends itself to open-ended investigative practical work as it encompasses investigative approaches and research. The students completed a Bronze Award (10 hours in total with 4-5 hours in the laboratory) based around the measurement of photosynthesis in pondweed, which they researched to decide their main focus (e.g. concentration of carbon dioxide or light intensity). After planning their practical work students carried out a preliminary experiment and were given time to evaluate and improve their plans before carrying out the investigation. Evidence was used for assessment against the CREST criteria and CPAC requirements. See case study on page 12. 11