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 Which fertiliser works best? Despite the high rate of growth in rainforests the soil in these forests is poor in nutrients. The nutrients have been washed out of the soils by heavy rainfall. In this project you will investigate how the nutrients in soil affect plant growth and compare the effects of a range of fertilisers, composts and burnt wood ash on plant growth. Getting started You should start by doing some research into the nutrients needed for plant growth. You could find out about the different nutrients required and the different kinds of composts and fertilisers used by gardeners and farmers. You could then research the special case of rainforests. The soil in rainforests is poor in nutrients – you should find out why this is and what effect it has on the plant life. You could also investigate how the indigenous people of rainforests farm the land. You should find out about “slash-and-burn agriculture” as carried out by both the indigenous people and by migrants to the area. Collect a range of fertilisers and composts available from garden centres. You should include some organic/natural fertilisers in your tests. You will need to make or obtain your own nutrient poor ‘soil’ to which you would add the compost, fertiliser or wood ash being tested. You may need to do a trial test to ensure that your method gives usable results – you will then need to plan to use the time allocated for the project effectively and allow enough time for your samples to have grown sufficiently to give you acceptable results. Click to edit project description Your results: You will need to present your results using charts and graphs and you will need to comment on how your results compare to what you found out about compost and fertilisers and burnt wood ash in your research. You could also comment on the use of slash and burn agriculture. You should also evaluate your own experiments and comment on the reliability and validity of your results. Things to think about How will you make your test fair? Which seeds will you use? How many plants will you need to grow? Will you use a propagator to help grow the seedlings? If you choose to create your own wood ash fertiliser, how can your expert mentor help you with this? How will you measure and record the results? Useful resources You could contact a local plant nursery or agricultural college and arrange a visit and discussion about plant nutrients and the use of different composts and fertilisers. You could make a link with an expert who will be able to support you in your work. You could devise experiments to compare the effects of various composts and fertilisers on the growth of seedling with the effect of burnt wood ash. It is important that you discuss your ideas for investigations with your expert contact.