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 Embedding open-ended investigative practical work into the curriculum in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland Wales The Curriculum for Wales guidance was published in January 2020, setting out the proposed curriculum requirements for learners aged 3 to 16 to ensure all schools cover the same core learning. The new curriculum is designed around four purposes and identifies integral skills which are critical to these purposes. These include creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, planning and organising; all of which can be developed through the use of Bronze and Silver CREST Awards. The descriptions of learning (‘Being curious and searching for answers’) in the Science and Technology strand is closely linked to the criteria for open-ended investigative practical work. For example: c I can identify questions that can be investigated scientifically and suggest suitable methods of inquiry. c I can suggest conclusions as a result of carrying out my inquiries. c I can evaluate methods to suggest improvements. c I can engage with scientific and technological evidence to inform my own opinions. c I can understand how my actions and the actions of others impact on the environment and living things. The Welsh Baccalaureate, at both KS4 and KS5, offers the opportunity to complete a CREST Award as part of the Skills Challenge Certificate, which consists of four components. One of these is the Individual Project which is linked to a future career or future study and is often used as part of UCAS applications. Many students complete a project which is linked to research being carried out at their first choice or local university. At KS4 learners spend approximately 40 hours on the individual project, which would equate to a Silver CREST Award. As students are encouraged to take 120 hours at Advanced level (including a 40-hour teaching and learning programme) this would equate to a Gold CREST Award (70+ hours). Students completing open-ended practical investigative work for the Individual Project benefit from the expertise of the teacher who is supervising the certificate. There are several avenues that can be followed to overcome this barrier, including using STEM Ambassadors as mentors, the Trio Sci Cymru Programme and partnerships with local universities. There were no pilot schools in Wales, however supportive advice was provided by WJEC representatives for the completion of CREST Awards at KS4 and KS5, and the Welsh Government regarding the new Curriculum for Wales. Northern Ireland The KS3 curriculum focuses more on the relevance of learning for life, work, society, the economy and environment and less on specified content. It emphasises the development of creativity and the skills to manage information, problem-solving and making decisions in order to create new knowledge. The science curriculum includes carrying out the following elements which have direct relevance to a Bronze or Silver CREST Award through an openended extended investigation: 28
MAKING IT HAPPEN c Investigate the effects of pollution. c Investigate what can be done to conserve and promote biodiversity. Schools carry out many practical activities during KS3, in addition to those highlighted above, and encourage the development of scientific thinking to enable students to decide how to generate a question and design methods of answering the question through the use of practical investigative work. It is possible that completing an open-ended investigative CREST Award project may act as a link from the flexible skills based curriculum at KS3 to the more content driven KS4 specification. Students must complete a number of prescribed practicals during the KS4 course. Students must demonstrate the ability to carry out three tasks based upon, but not identical to, the prescribed practicals in a practical examination. Students also complete a written external examination which assesses knowledge and understanding of practical science. The opportunity to carry out a CREST Award at the end of KS3 or an adaptation of one of the prescribed practicals at KS4 may benefit the students in these assessments. KS4 and KS5 centres can choose to deliver specifications from CCEA, AQA, OCR, Eduqas, Pearson BTEC, etc. CCEA GCE Life and Health Sciences is a qualification which can be taken as a single or double award qualification. Unit 7 in the A-level specification is entitled ‘Scientific Method, Investigation, Analysis and Evaluation’. Students have the opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of what makes an investigation scientific. They carry out research and choose, plan and undertake a scientific investigation, communicate results and make conclusions with a final evaluation of their work. This unit is internally assessed and would lend itself to a CREST Award. Teachers would need to ensure that students considered a wider purpose for their project and also that a range of approaches were identified to match the CREST Award criteria. There were no pilot schools in Northern Ireland, however supportive advice was provided by CCEA representatives for the completion of CREST Awards at KS3. Scotland Science National 5 and Higher qualifications both contain an assignment which forms 20% of the final grade. The assignment topics are chosen with guidance from the teacher and must involve experimental work. Candidates produce a report on their research which is conducted under controlled conditions and is submitted to SQA for external marking. For both qualifications it is recommended that students spend 8 hours on the whole assignment, therefore an addition of 2 hours would equate to a CREST Bronze Award. Students complete the open-ended practical work as per the assignment criteria. They can then use the additional 2 hours to ensure they have also covered the remaining CREST criteria which includes: c 1.2 The student explained a wider purpose for the project. c 1.3 The student identified a range of approaches to the project. c 1.4 The student described why they chose that approach. c 3.1 The student explained the implications for the wider world. c 3.2 The student explained how their actions and decisions affected the project’s outcome. c 4.2 The student made decisions taking account of ethical and safety issues. These could be covered in a paragraph or so with a risk assessment. There is no expectation that students re-write the assignment for the purposes of completing a CREST Award. The Advanced Higher includes an in-depth, individually planned investigative/research project. The project is completed independently by the student under some supervision and control, and is submitted to SQA for marking. Although the SQA does not prescribe a maximum time allocation for the project, students are expected to spend 10-15 hours on experimental work, and can spend longer if they wish. Given the length of the report, 2,500-4,500 words, students could dual submit the project for a Silver or Gold CREST Award depending upon the length of time spent on the work. The majority of the CREST criteria are covered in the project marking criteria. The SQA Baccalaureate in Science (2 Advanced Highers, 1 Higher and a Project) also offers the opportunity to complete a Gold CREST Award as the Interdisciplinary Project. There were no pilot schools in Scotland, however supportive advice was provided by an SQA representative for the completion of CREST Awards at National, Higher, Advanced Higher and Baccalaureate levels. 29