What is CREST?
CREST is a national award scheme for project work in science, maths, engineering and technology. It is managed by the British Science Association, an organisation which provides opportunities for people of all ages to learn about, discuss and challenge the sciences (including engineering and technology) and their implications. CREST Awards are available at Discovery(5 hour projects usually undertaken by students aged 11-14), Bronze(10 hour projects usually undertaken by students aged 11-14), Silver (30 hour projects usually undertaken by students aged 14-16) and Gold (70+ hour projects usually undertaken by students aged 16-19) levels, depending on the amount and depth of work you carry out. They are the only STEM scheme recommended by UCAS for use in personal statements and students can use them as evidence to talk about wider study and employability skills like problem solving, team work, analytical or presentation skills, self-confidence or practical skills. Schools can use the awards to demonstrate opportunities students have for additional accreditation in STEM subjects.
How do I apply?
- The teacher completes and returns a CREST Registration Form to the CREST Coordinator.
- Projects are completed and students reflect on the process using the CREST Discovery Passport, workbook (Bronze Award) or profile (Bronze Award, Silver Award, Gold Award) according to the project level.
- Students must communicate their projects to others and have the opportunity to respond to questioning.
- Support guides for students and teachers are available to download here.
- Once the teacher and/or mentor feel the criteria have been met, the teacher informs coordinator of completion of projects and submits copies of profile forms and reports. You can submit either by email or mail. Project work is precious: please remember to write a return address on the envelope. We regret that TechFest is not able to pay for underpaid postal items so please ensure you use the correct postage.
- The coordinator arranges assessment for Silver and Gold projects and may get back to the teacher to arrange an assessment visit or get in touch with further questions.
- The CREST Assessor advises on the level of award and arranges for certificates to be sent to students.
(*All information that you provide will be held on the British Science Association CREST database, accessible to your local coordinator and staff at the British Science Association. The data will be used only for reporting on the impact of British Science Association CREST to our funders and related education audiences.
CREST is designed to be inclusive of all abilities and backgrounds. We require student data to effectively evaluate and research engagement with the scheme to further implement appropriate strategies to ensure that CREST is inclusive. Reports will not contain student names; student details will not be used for purposes outside of evaluating and researching CREST.
The Awards - Discovery, Bronze, Silver and Gold
The CREST Discovery Award is aimed at young people aged 11-14 and is ideal for transition/collapsed time-table days.
The CREST Discovery Award recognises quality science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) project work that is done over a short period of time (typically a day). It focuses on fun, teamwork and transferable skills. Like all CREST Awards, creativity, decision making, problem solving and communication are key to gaining a Discovery Award, as is putting projects in a real-world context.
What kinds of activities can lead to a CREST Discovery Award?
To achieve the award, students will need to demonstrate various skills including:
- Problem solving
- Independent learning
Your CREST Local Coordinator has the full details of what is required and will be able to advise you on suitable activities. CREST Discovery Award days could be organised around any STEM topic or theme. If you want to run a 'Discovery Day' you can either:
Use our pre-prepared, accredited and piloted 'Community garden challenge' resources which have been developed to complement National Science + Engineering Week. Information sessions about this are taking place throughout October 2013
Run a CREST Discovery Award day in conjunction with a pre-accredited CREST link scheme
Develop your own CREST Discovery Award day activities and get these 'accredited' in advance of the day by your CREST Local Coordinator. It's best to chat through your ideas with them at the early planning stages.
The "starter" level is BRONZE, which can be carried out by any student aged 11-19, but is typically completed by 11-14 year olds (P7-S3). The aim of this level of award is to encourage students to experience and understand the investigative process and to improve their enquiry, problem-solving, communication and presentation skills. This award requires about 10-15 hours work.
The higher levels demand greater time commitment and problem-solving skills.
The SILVER award is a more in-depth and longer-term investigation and requires about 20-40 hours work. Examples of suitable projects include Go4SET, AH projects, STEM in the Pipeline. This award is typically completed by 14-19 year olds (S2-S6 or college students).
The third level is GOLD which is normally carried out by 16-19 year olds (S5-S6 or college students) and is a long-term project requiring around 70+ hours. An external mentor MUST be involved (eg a Researcher in Residence or STEM Ambassador). Typical projects include Nuffield Bursary projects and Engineering Education Scheme projects.
"The best part of it was showing off my knowledge and taking pride in what we did" - Pupil
"Extremely beneficial - good motivational tool, good for critical thinking skills" - Teacher
How does CREST support learning?
CREST students can use them as evidence to talk about wider study and achievement including skills like problem solving , team work, analytical or presentation skills, self-confidence or practical skills. You can read the independent review of "CREST Employability Skills" here.
CREST is consistent with the aims of the Curriculum for Excellence and promotes the development of the four capacities:
Responsible Citizens, Effective Contributors, Successful Learners and Confident Individuals
A copy of the Scottish CREST brochure can be viewed/downloaded here.
The CREST Awards are the only STEM related scheme that are recommended by UCAS for use in personal statements, you can find guidance and suggestions here.
The CREST project can be:
Initiated by the student;
Organised by the teacher as part of curriculum coursework (e.g. in a STEM elective or Advanced Higher projects), science fair or STEM club;
Linked to other schemes and projects including IET Faraday Challenge, Go4SET, Engineering Education Scheme (EES), Industrial Cadets, First Lego League, Nuffield School Bursary Scheme, TrakNAV Challenge, Eco-school projects, Healthy Eating, P7/S1 Transition projects, Young Engineers, Masterclasses, Summer Schools, etc.
Support and advice on implementing student-led project work as a way of teaching or doing extra-curricular activities in the STEM subjects can be found in the STEM Projects toolkit and online:
As a downloadable pdf from the Downloads Hub of the CREST area of the British
Science Association website: http://www.britishscienceassociation.org/crest-awards/download-hub
Hosted by the National STEM Centre's e-library: http://www.nationalstemcentre.org.uk/elibrary/collection/1670/stem-projects-toolkit
CREST Awards are extremely flexible - and projects can come from a wide variety of sources as outlined above. Project ideas, inspiration and information for teachers can be found on:-
- The British Science Association website;
- The Australian CREST website
- Go4SET - teams of 6 pupils are linked with a company or organisation to carry out a 10 week STEM project.
The Big Bang & CREST Final
CREST students can nominate themselves to attend regional or national Big Bang Fairs. The winning Science and Technology projects are eligible for a range of prizes but also exclusive CREST prizes at each of the levels for Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.
Are you a STEM professional looking at mentoring the next generation of young scientists, engineers and innovators? There are STEMNET contract holders across Scotland who can help you become a STEM Ambassador, offering training and support for engaging with STEM educational opportunities. Find out more about becoming a STEM Ambassador at STEMNET.