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 Pearson BTEC Level 3 Applied Science Schools in the pilot study embedded open-ended investigative practical work into different elements of the BTEC Level 3 Applied Science curriculum. Both 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. There are three units within the qualification which particularly lend themselves to embedding a CREST Award: Unit 2: Practical scientific procedures and techniques In one of the pilot schools the students completed a Bronze Award (10 hours in total with 4-5 hours in the laboratory) based around the comparison of the nutritional value of fresh and frozen vegetables. Evidence was used for assessment against the CREST criteria and Learning Aims C and D. See case study on page 22. Unit 3: Science investigation skills The centre provides students with a mock assessment using past paper material. For the pilot of CREST in the curriculum the teacher decided to use the mock assessment time to complete a Bronze Award instead (10 hours in total with 4-5 in the laboratory). The teacher adapted past paper material so any guidance was removed. This ensured the investigation remained open-ended and did not limit the students in terms of creativity and decision making. See case study on page 22. Unit 6: Investigative project – Diploma and Extended Diploma courses only Learners carried out an investigative project of their choosing. Many linked this directly to the courses they were hoping to study at university and found it beneficial to be able to discuss their research at interviews. Students planned to complete a CREST Gold Award (70 hours in total) alongside Unit 6. 20
MAKING IT HAPPEN Cambridge Technical Level 3 Applied Science award Several units would be appropriate to run a CREST Award concurrently with a Cambridge Technical Level 3. Students would need to be taught the techniques in advance, and use of the CREST student workbook or guide would ensure the criteria were understood. There are three units within the qualification which particularly lend themselves to embedding a CREST Award: Unit 2: Laboratory techniques The CREST resource entitled ‘Detecting food fraud’ would be suitable for investigating and building upon the skills taught during this unit and preparing students for the external examination component. Unit 3: Scientific analysis and reporting This includes the techniques which underpin the work of scientists in the collection, analysis and the presentation of data and information. The ‘Everything is brighter after a cup of tea’ CREST Award resource could be a suitable investigation that could build upon the techniques taught in Unit 3. Unit 8: Microbiology This is one of the most popular optional units chosen by centres. A Bronze, Silver or Gold CREST Award could be completed to investigate the growth and effective use of microorganisms. The CREST work was low-stakes and allowed the students to take the time to consider why we carry out practicals, what data we can gather and how results could be used. Louise, science teacher 21