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 BTEC case study CREST Bronze and Pearson BTEC Level 3 Applied Science Units 2 and 3 Polette Baghdasarian, KS5 coordinator and Nina Heidelmann, science teacher Hylands School Unit 2: Practical scientific procedures and techniques – Compare the nutritional value of fresh and frozen spinach. Unit 3: Science investigation skills – Investigate the energy content of carbohydratebased foods. School context Hylands School is a comprehensive academy, with a mixed cohort between ages 11 and 18. There are 741 students on roll and 94 in the sixth form, with approximately 20% Pupil Premium. Who participated? Five Year 13 and five Year 12 students studying BTEC Applied Science. Polette is an experienced teacher who has responsibility for KS5 in science and Nina is an NQT. The projects were directly linked to the BTEC Units and assessments. In Year 12 Nina taught the basic technique of chromatography. Students were then asked to independently research and try out different methods before settling on the best one. In Year 13 Polette used Unit 3 past paper questions and adapted them to fit the CREST Award criteria by removing the scaffolding to make them open-ended. These were then used as a mock Unit 3 examination. All students worked in groups. 22
MAKING IT HAPPEN As a new teacher I don’t really feel confident giving students much freedom, but here I had to and it was amazing. Nina, science teacher When did they do it? BTEC has 6 teaching hours a fortnight. Both teachers carried out the CREST Award in the Spring term using a block of lessons. In-class allocation was as follows: 2 hours research, 4-5 hours practical investigation and 3 hours analysis and evaluation. Perceived benefits to the students Nina and Polette felt the students who participated were not natural scientists and would never have attended after school clubs or science-based enrichment. They benefited from the chance to design and plan a piece of investigative work from start to finish, honing their practical skills whilst being involved in a project which was relevant to them. Prior to the project they had limited opportunities to work completely independently in a practical environment. The students appreciated the fact that the CREST Award was valued outside of school and that they could use it in university applications. An increase in engagement was seen in both Year 12 and Year 13. Students began to talk about how the results potentially impacted on their lives and culture which was totally unexpected. Polette and Nina felt it better prepared them for the real world of science and being able to think outside the box. Who needs to be on board? Head of science and the technician team. Barriers and how they were overcome The Head of Science was concerned that the CREST project would take up too much teaching time. Polette was able to demonstrate that this was not the case. Students in Year 13 were reluctant to complete extra work and needed persuading to see that they could be accredited for a CREST Award whilst completing their mock assessment for the Unit 3 examination, so the work was not extra. In future the teacher is going to introduce Unit 3 and the CREST Award at the same time to explain the crossover. Student absence was a concern in some cases. However, because the students were in groups, they developed effective team working and communication skills as a result. Nina is an NQT and is used to following a specification closely. While this meant that she was less confident initially, being able to plan with Polette was beneficial. Perceived benefits to teaching and learning Both teachers are keen to integrate CREST into the BTEC curriculum again next year with their new cohort as they could see clear benefits within a short time. Polette was particularly surprised by the improvement in practical skills. She assumed the same levels of development would occur, but the CREST Award forced the students to become much more independent and creative practitioners. Polette found that when they “actually left them to it to make their own decisions it was incredible.” Top tip for teachers The student work booklets are good and gave the students confidence to work through their project step-by-step. Use them from the start. 23