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 KS3 case study CREST Bronze and Year 9 Separate Science Nicola Hunt, science STEM lead Aston University Engineering Academy (AUEA) Investigate the properties of metals which make them suitable for producing jewellery: Students were taught about properties of metals, including extraction methods, as per the scheme of work. The students were involved in finding out about rare metals to ensure they were confident in using research skills before the project was introduced. Most students were able to visit a jewellery maker during the project. School context Aston University Engineering Academy is a mixed University Technical College (UTC) for students between the ages of 13 and 19. There are approximately 610 students on roll with over 350 of these in the sixth form. Approximately 11% are Pupil Premium. 26
MAKING IT HAPPEN In hindsight maybe we should have arranged the visit at the beginning, before they completed any of the planning, but after the research. This would have helped them think about the properties of the different metals during their planning. Nicola, science STEM lead Who participated? All 81 students in Year 9 participated. When did they do it? One lesson a week was allocated to the CREST project in the Autumn term. Students carried out most of the research and writing up during homework sessions in school or at home. Many students visited a local business, School of Jewellery, to make a ring using metal. Perceived benefits to the students Students were completing practicals that would normally be done in later years such as Young’s modulus. 13-year-olds were able to discuss and demonstrate understanding of thermal conductivity, ductility and malleability. Students enjoyed the opportunity to do research over a longer period of time rather than just for one practical. They began to see how different aspects linked together through this context. I felt like I was thinking like an engineer. Year 9 student Who needs to be on board? Head of science, headteacher, parents, Year 9 leader and technicians. Barriers and how they were overcome The classes have different abilities and so groupings had to be thought through by the teacher. Within one lesson there would be lots of different projects ongoing so the teacher and technicians needed to be very flexible and aware of the openended approach here. Initially teachers were scripting the lessons too much and expecting students to achieve a set of expected results. Students enjoyed the practical work but did not enjoy writing up their work. Competing demands from other subjects meant that in-school homework sessions, and IT availability, were not always focussed on CREST. Perceived benefits to teaching and learning The teachers did not know much about the practical skills of their students as the UTC takes students from Year 9 onwards. Teachers felt that the CREST project enabled them to gain information about the students’ skills and abilities more rapidly than in previous cohorts. Top tip for teachers Do not underestimate the guidance students need in writing up their projects, particularly at KS3. One Year 9 student said that finding time to complete the write up alongside other subjects was difficult: “I knew where I was going but when I got to writing it up I got a bit confused with the conclusion and evaluation as they are hard.” 27