How to choose a project idea

How to choose a project idea

A CREST project can cover any aspect of science, depending on students’ interest: research; investigation, design or making; as well as science communication. 

The most important thing is that there is an element of investigation and exploration, and that the project sets out to answer a question or solve a problem.

Students can choose any type of project at any of the award levels. It’s the amount of time and complexity of work undertaken that increases as students progress.

CREST Award projects aren’t just for schools

While some may require access to a lab or specialist equipment, there are many that don’t. A whole range of youth groups and home educators also run them very successfully. From building go-carts to conducting wildlife surveys or testing which wing shapes make the best paper aeroplanes, there are lots of different ways that you can create great projects to suit your group’s activities, interests and resources.

How to approach choosing project topics with students 

  • For CREST Star and CREST SuperStar we recommend that you as a teacher or group leader select 8 challenges from our resource library. Alternatively, you can use your own activities towards the awards, providing they meet the Star and Superstar Awards criteria.
  • For Discovery - Gold projects, give students as much choice as possible in their project topic. Even when students have a ‘live brief’ from a company, ask for some options to choose from. Students respond more positively to a challenge that they’ve had some part in choosing. 
  • Make sure the project gives students the opportunity to demonstrate all the CREST criteria for Discovery or the CREST criteria for Bronze, Silver and Gold. If students are constrained by a poor brief/idea, the project is unlikely to succeed. 
  • Whatever their level, don’t underestimate students’ ability to respond to a challenge. 
  • If you have an idea for a topic that you would like your students to work on, contact CREST Support for help in selecting a suitable range of projects to offer to your students 

Looking for inspiration?

Visit our project ideas library. The library includes activities you can use with your students, as well as CREST link schemes. Link schemes are STEM activities run by our partners that have been accredited by CREST, and that can lead to CREST Awards for your students.


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