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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The question After identifying a broad problem, you can start generating questions and narrowing down your problem into something that is measurable or testable. There is a good chance that your problem will be testable if you ask yourself good questions using the 5W1H (Who, What, Why, When, Where, How) method: • WHO: Who will benefit more from an existing technology? Who has more potential when it comes to doing a certain activity? • WHAT: What can be changed? Replaced? Improved? What is the most effective solution? What is the most productive way to do an activity? What features do they have in common? What factors influence an event? • WHERE: Where else could a product be used effectively? Where in the world does a solution have a bigger impact? • WHEN: When is the best time to perform an activity (‘best’ can be measured in productivity, ease, comfort, etc.)? When I change the course of the process, what happens? When tested for something, how do two groups compare? • WHY: Why is something like this? • HOW: How does one thing affect another? How does one part of a product affect the function of another if modified? How could it be simplified? How effective is that product? For example: My interest: Environment, Chemistry, Organising Current situation: No explicit paper recycling guidelines. Personal experience: Segregating recyclable paper is difficult. Question: Does recycled paper decompose more quickly than non-recycled paper? My interest: Health and beauty, Chemistry, Biology Personal experience: I got sunburn from the sun cream I used last summer. Question: Which brand of sun cream is the most effective? (make sure to check health and safety)
Here are question examples applied in different fields: • Biology: What fertiliser works best? • Chemistry: What natural oil works best in repelling flies? • Engineering: What is the most ideal design of a toothbrush? • Fashion: Which metals are suitable for making jewellery? • Food: What are the health benefits of tea? • Geology: What type of soil holds the most water? 1 • Health: Which foods are best for someone with a nutritional disorder? • Physics: How does aerodynamics affect sails? • Thermodynamics: What inside window covering is best in blocking outside heat? Now that you have chosen your question, the next thing to do is to determine how measurable your problem is. You should be able to answer all these questions 2 with a yes: 1. Is the topic interesting enough to read about and still relevant to work on for the next couple of months? 2. Are there at least three sources of written information on the subject? Reliable, recent and relevant literature gives you a context of history about your problem. 3. Is there another way of thinking about the problem? Can you simplify it? The broader the problem, the more difficult it can be to test it. 4. Is it measurable? Your question should be answered using measurable data in units such as count, percentage, weight, volume, length, width, speed, time, velocity, energy, etc. 5. Do you have a clear timetable? A clear plan steers you to achieving your goal more than when you do not have one. 6. If your problem requires an experiment or making a model, is it safe? If you have considered all of the above points, and can answer yes to them – fantastic, you now have your question! The next step is to figure out what process you should use to help you find your answer. Health and Safety You should create a plan for your project and a risk assessment before you begin any practical activity. You can use the CLEAPSS student safety sheets to help you. 1 https://sciencefaircentral.com/students/scientific-projects 2 https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/science-fair/science-fair-project-question