At Home: The different types of CREST project

At Home: The different types of CREST project

This article primarily refers to Silver and Gold levels, but is also relevant to Bronze.


There are four eligible types of CREST project: Practical Investigation, Design & Make, Research, and Communication. The Research and Communication projects can be done with little or no equipment and can be adapted at home; whereas Practical Investigation and Design & Make projects would usually require access to a laboratory or certain devices. 


Understanding which of these can be safely done at home can help you choose the best project idea for your CREST Silver or Gold Awards. Check out some tips at the bottom of this article for how you can adapt an already started project for being completed at home.

Practical Investigation

Practical Investigation is one of the most common project types for CREST. These aim to answer a question, hypothesis or problem. 
Practical investigation projects should include:
  • A question, hypothesis or problem
  • Project aims
  • Planning
  • Evidence
  • Analysis
  • Conclusion

Stuck halfway through a practical project, without any access to a lab? Consider converting your project into a Research or Communication project using our tips further down the page. If you're completing a physics-based project why not ask your school to sign up for this online virtual lab?


Design and Make

These tasks aim to design and create a product that meets a specific aim. Design and Make enterprises can start with a broad scope, which is then narrowed down to something more specific. 

Design and Make projects should include:
  • A brief
  • Project aims
  • Designing of a solution to a specific problem
  • Testing, analysis, improvement and retesting of solution (multiple cycles)
  • Analysis of final solution
  • Conclusion
Example: Past topics have included designing and making a skateboard, and designing and building a model catamaran.

Research

These projects aim to provide a fresh perspective or strengthen an argument for a disputed STEM topic through data gathering and analysis. These are ideal for young people who are learning at home, and want to complete something on a topic of interest. They also fit well with the Extended Project Qualification.
Research projects should include:
  • A project brief or area to investigate
  • Project aims
  • Plans for how data will be gathered and analysed
  • Critical analysis of existing data
  • Conclusion
Example: Past projects have included topics such as, 'The effects of reminding students about their previous grades on exam performance'


Communication

These projects aim to inform a specific audience about a topic or raise their awareness and interest in STEM. If you have younger siblings, you could consider creating something that communicates a STEM topic to them in a way that makes it easy to understand.
Communication projects should include:
  • A target audience
  • Background research of the topic and the audience
  • Design of a form of communication
  • Reflection and explanation of how the communication is fit for purpose, including being pitched at the correct age and level of understanding
  • Evaluation of their communication using appropriate measures
  • Conclusion
Example: Past projects have included students developing a science show; building an interactive museum exhibit that explained a scientific principle; and a radio show where students interviewed a scientist.

Tips for completing an already-started Practical or Design and Make project remotely:

  1. If working with a group, collaborate online. The essence of teamwork can continue in a virtual setting. Just ensure that your profile form or report outlines the contribution of each team member and how they individually meet the awards criteria
  2. You might decide that you want to take a different approach given the new constraints. Or if you had completed a lot of the work already, perhaps you could discuss the impact that social distancing has had on the project and the wider implications this may be having elsewhere.
  3. Consider converting your project to a Research or Communication project. Remember, you can turn around this situation and make it work for your project. Working on a project remotely is a problem that you can identify and overcome successfully, and if you discuss this in your project report it means they’ve already met one of the 15 criteria for achieving the Award!

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