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.
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Page 1 of 2 Monitoring acid rain In this project, you will monitor levels of atmospheric sulphur dioxide and rainfall acidity. Your results are likely to vary with different weather conditions. This may give you clues about the source(s) of the acid. You should spread your investigation over many months, so that you can compare results for both winter and summer. Getting Started Hopefully, the acid rain in your area will be very dilute. So, you need a method of measuring the small amounts and differences in acidity of your samples. Comparing acidity: Compare the effects of dissolving carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in water. Use a large volume of water and a slow stream of bubbles, so the concentration of dissolved gas increases only slowly. Find a way to monitor the changes in pH. Compare the amount of each gas produced by burning fuels with the effect each has on rain. Investigate how the pH values of sulfuric acid and nitric acid change as they become more dilute. Start with an initial concentration of 1.0 mol dm-3 for each acid and gradually dilute them to known lower concentrations until the pH values rise above pH6. What happens if you keep on diluting? Why won’t the pH rise above pH7? Distinguishing between acids: Find out how to distinguish between sulfuric(VI) acid and nitric(V) acid. Devise a method to measure how much of each is present in samples of acid rain. Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide don’t actually react with water to form sulfuric(VI) acid and nitric(V) acid. Find out what does happen. Click to edit project description Monitoring atmospheric sulphur dioxide and acid rain: Find out how sulphur dioxide levels are monitored. Design a method for measuring atmospheric sulphur dioxide in your school grounds. You will probably need to sample continuously for several days to collect measurable amounts. Things to think about Do your overall results suggest any particular local sources of this pollution? Remember, it isn’t just power stations that produce sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Investigate various methods of measuring acidities between pH4 and pH7, to decide which method is most accurate. Useful Resources Arrange a visit to an environmental monitoring site to see how the work is done. The results: Use your results to estimate the concentration of acid rain samples you collect later in the project. Decide a good way to display your results visually, so that sulphur dioxide levels and rain acidity can easily be compared. Is there a relationship between them? Are the results what you expected? Why? Do high sulphur dioxide levels and/or acid rain occur under particular weather conditions? Again, offer explanations for your observations. Take measurements to investigate how weather conditions, such as rainfall and wind direction affect sulphur dioxide levels. Use weather forecasts to plan when to take your measurements.