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:
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INVESTIGATIVE PRACTICAL SCIENCE IN THE CURRICULUM A-level Physics case study CREST Bronze, CPAC and AQA A-level Physics Sarah Heggie, STEM coordinator King Edmund School An extension of Required Practical 5 (RP5): Determination of resistivity of a wire using a micrometer, ammeter and voltmeter. School context King Edmund School is a comprehensive academy, with a mixed cohort between the ages of 11 and 18. There are around 1,500 students on roll, with approximately 30% Pupil Premium. Who participated? Two Year 12 students studying AQA A-level Physics. Sarah decided to adapt the Silver CREST resource ‘How steady is your hand?’ so students could carry out a Bronze Award. She linked it to electricity, resistivity, current and potential difference in the specification as well as RP5. Sarah taught students the practical skills and knowledge prior to completing the practical work. Students completed RP5 in the normal way and undertook the CREST Award as an extension to the practical and as a means of applying their knowledge, understanding and skills. 14
MAKING IT HAPPEN Using the CREST Award helped the students link lots of different skills and content together through a context rather than standalone lessons. It took approximately two more lessons than my normal route through this topic but students’ understanding and skills improved more. Sarah, STEM coordinator When did they do it? Sarah felt that the inclusion of a CREST Award probably only added a couple of extra hours of teaching to her normal plan. Research took 5-6 hours and was completed in stages for planning, evaluation and improvements to the practical work. Some of this was completed at home and some in lesson time. The practical work took approximately 5 hours, which equated to the length of time Sarah would normally have spent on RP5. The evaluation took approximately 2 hours of lesson time. Perceived benefits to the students In Sarah’s experience, students can find the electricity topic challenging and a little dry. The chosen investigation added a bit more fun to the topic. She felt lots of practical techniques were used and practiced during the CREST Award which helped to apply and embed understanding of key concepts. Sarah felt that students’ key practical skills and knowledge had improved as a result of the investigation. Who needs to be on board? The Head of Physics needed to be on board; she had experienced CREST Awards before so was keen for this to happen. The Head of Science and the science technicians were also important. Barriers and how they were overcome Year 13 students were coming to the Year 12 practical lessons for revision, so whilst they didn’t do the project they were still present and learning too. Assessments and tests can also interrupt the normal flow. The CREST resource itself needed adapting first as well to ensure that there was sufficient demand for A-level, as it was a Silver Award targeted more towards 14-16 year olds. Perceived benefits to teaching and learning There would have been a similar route through the specification but doing the CREST project knitted everything together. For example, Sarah taught students how to measure current and then later they used this in the CREST project, whereas normally this would have been a standalone lesson. The chosen CREST Award linked to RP5 really well. Sarah felt that CREST engages students and provides a different context to a unit of work, as there are lots of aspects running through it concurrently. Sarah delivered knowledge more as a topic that ran over a number of interlinked lessons, rather than as standalone lessons. Sarah is keen to continue to incorporate CREST into her A-level teaching next year because it has been of benefit to the students. Top tip for teachers Have a planned teaching route through the project, including how it links to CPAC skills and particular specification content. 15
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.
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.
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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