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:
To browse the briefs, click the buttons below or scroll down.
INVESTIGATIVE PRACTICAL SCIENCE IN THE CURRICULUM A-level Chemistry case study CREST Silver, CPAC and AQA A-level Chemistry Jackie Hardaker, STEM coordinator Oaklands Catholic School An extension of Required Practical 10 (RP10): The preparation of an organic solid and test of its purity. Investigation into the synthesis of aspirin, including purification by recrystallisation and determination of its melting point. School context Oaklands is a Catholic comprehensive school and sixth form college, with a mixed cohort between the ages of 11 and 18. There are just over 1,300 students of mixed background and faith, with approximately 20% Pupil Premium. Who participated? Year 12 students studying AQA A-level Chemistry, with 20 completing at least a Silver CREST Award. Some students are using the project at Gold level as their EPQ project. Students initially made aspirin, starting with oil of wintergreen. This enabled Jackie 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, the acid catalyst and the bioavailability through a viscous membrane. Normally RP10 would be covered in Year 13, so Jackie and her partner teacher changed the teaching order to accommodate the practical in Year 12. 16
MAKING IT HAPPEN The technician has been one of the biggest supports. I don’t think we would have pulled this off without him – he has been fundamental. He helps students think through new ideas and the students feel supported. He has built relationships with them and aids with advice on safety. He has been really invigorated by the STEM and CREST activities. Jackie, STEM coordinator When did they do it? The Chemistry students would normally have 2 hours of contact time per teacher per week. This was increased by 1 hour a week to accommodate the CREST Award programme. Perceived benefits to the students Jackie noticed an increase in engagement with the curriculum from the students. She found they had become more confident when manipulating equations and setting up complex apparatus. They were more likely to ‘have a go’ and more of a twoway interaction developed between the students and teacher. The students’ resilience improved since much of the responsibility was placed on them and they had to plan ahead and inform the technician of their requirements in advance. In years gone by, the students were very much waiting for us to come to them and prompt them. It’s nice that they are asking us. I sense that they are developing a passion for chemistry which is great. Year 12 student The students seemed less apprehensive about organic chemistry. Who needs to be on board? Head of department, partner teacher and science technicians. Barriers and how they were overcome Jackie wanted to get to Silver but had only 4 hours a week, so time was the biggest barrier. She believes that Bronze would have been very easy and that students would not have been as interested in completing a CREST Award at this level. Equipment availability was also an issue, so the school used the small grant to purchase extra lab glassware. The school only had one piece of equipment for measuring melting points and two vacuum pumps. This meant some students used their lunchtime to measure melting points, but this would have happened as part of RP6 anyway. Perceived benefits to teaching and learning Normally Jackie and her partner teacher would cover this topic area in Year 13. As a consequence they have resequenced the teaching. Jackie found that the students liked completing the organic chemistry to this level in Year 12. This format enabled the students to view organic chemistry in context and reduced the amount seen in previous Year 13 teaching programmes. Jackie is going to repeat the CREST Award with the new Year 12 and would like to do this on an annual basis. Top tip for teachers Get going with the practical aspects as quickly as possible. Invest time at the start in getting students organised and familiar with the paperwork and use the student profile from the beginning. 17