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 water pollution Contrary to what water authorities and bottled water manufacturers would have us believe, pure water is extremely rare. Drinking water is a carefully controlled solution. Natural water courses, even in the depths of the countryside are a complex cocktail of different substances. In this project, you will check two different bodies of water for pollutants – i.e. solutes regarded as undesirable. Getting Started The objective of this project is to investigate the effect of industry or agriculture on a water course, by comparing levels of pollution with those in an ‘unspoilt’ body of water. You need to consider what form any pollution is likely to take. If possible, choose sites where you can sample the water upstream and downstream from a likely source of pollution. Any site that uses water for cooling is thus a potential polluter. Don’t forget to identify a body of water unpolluted by effluents, to use as your comparison. You will need to think carefully about this in an urban area. Testing for pollutants: • What pollutants are present will depend on the types of activity being carried out alongside the water course, both locally and upstream. Survey your target area to decide what types of waste materials are likely to be discharged into the water. Don’t be overambitious. Limit your project to testing for three or four pollutants. You can extend the range later, if time allows. • Oxygen is not a pollutant, but dissolved oxygen levels are a good pollution indicator. • Decide which pollutants must be tested for ‘on-site’, and which can be analysed back in the laboratory. Click to edit project description • Depending on what you decide to test for, you might use dedicated water testing kits, or devise your own procedures. • Perform the same tests on samples from your polluted and ‘unspoilt’ sources, so that you can make direct comparisons. Your results: • Decide on a good way to display your results visually, so that the level of pollution in your two water sources can be easily compared. • Suggest explanations for your findings, in relation to nearby industrial and/or agricultural activities. Things to think about Bear in mind that most land is private. Useful Resources Try to arrange a visit to an industrial site to see how pollutants in effluents are minimised, and how their concentrations are monitored.