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 lead pollution In this project you will research ways of detecting low concentrations of lead and apply these to test samples from the environment. The objective is to investigate whether lead from petrol still persists at the roadside in order to determine whether there is a lurking legacy of lead. Getting Started Lead compounds were used in petrol as ‘anti-knock’ additives. Find out what this means, and how they improved the petrol. The additives used were tetraethyl lead (TEL) and/or tetramethyl lead (TML), but after combustion the exhaust gases contained other lead compounds. Find out what these were and what happened to them when they came out into the air – i.e. where, and in what chemical form, the lead is likely to have ended up. Detecting & measuring lead: You need to be able to test whether the samples you collect contain any lead, and if so how much. Try out various reagents to find one that will detect as low as possible concentrations of lead ions, Pb2+. It must also distinguish lead from other metals that might be present in environmental samples. Test known solutions to decide the lowest concentration of lead ions that you can detect. If you detect lead in a sample, you will need to determine the amount. Research various methods of quantitative analysis for lead ions. Choose one which you can use yourself and determine the lowest amount that you can measure. Environmental sampling: Now plan your sampling. Choose sites on verges alongside roads with different amounts of daily traffic and sites unaffected by car exhaust fumes. Click to edit project description Analysis: Devise procedures to extract any lead from your soil and plant samples. Using methods researched above, perform qualitative analysis on each extract, and quantitative analysis on those that show positive for lead. Express your results in terms of the quantity of lead in each original sample. The results: Display your results in a meaningful way, which clearly addresses the objective stated in the introduction. This could be in the form of a poster display, such as would be shown at a scientific conference. Things to think about Look up environmental data to find out the level of lead pollution that you are likely to find. Use this data, and your minimum measurable amounts, to decide how big your samples need to be. From each site, take samples of soil, and of plants - they may have absorbed lead compounds from the soil. Useful Resources Find out how professional environmentalists monitor lead levels. Try to arrange a visit to a laboratory which undertakes such analyses. It may be possible to have some of your own samples analysed by way of demonstration.