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Every year, around 30,000 pupils across the UK gain CREST Awards through enrichment activities, investigations and enquiry-based learning projects in STEM-related areas.
This is the British Science Association’s crown jewel STEM programme and provides pupils with sparkling opportunities to participate in hands-on STEM work.
The scheme has been running since 1986 and offers teachers an easy-to-run structure for curriculum enhancement. Crucially, this is pupil-led which means students take ownership of their projects.
What the awards do so well is cultivate a strong independent learning orientation that helps pupils develop high levels of persistence, perseverance and tenacity to achieve their goals.
There are six CREST Award levels, allowing students to progress through the scheme throughout their education. Each level requires students to demonstrate particular skills, such as problem solving, independent learning, organisation, teamwork and communication.
The primary activities on offer have been designed so that you don’t have to be a teacher or have a science background to run them.
For 7-11 year olds, CREST SuperStar offers children real-life one-hour problem-solving tasks from a varied selection of challenges.
Each one is devoted to developing children’s scientific enquiry skills about the world in which they live. They are all relatable activities too, embedded in rich contexts that children will recognise and be interested in, such as making a wind-up toy, building a bird’s nest, testing toothpaste, turning milk into cheese and designing and making a discus.
Pupils use colourful and engaging activity cards. These contain the challenge, along with plenty of ideas for discussion, how to get started, what to test, pointers for sharing ideas and extra things to do.
Expertly written, the cards are question-heavy and encourage cognitive conflict. This is delivered via fictional characters Cosmic and Gem.
To support these, there are excellent organiser’s notes with clear instructions about the activity, what you need, what to do, keywords and safety tips to be aware of.
Children are given a special passport for recording their journey and can mark off each challenge inside. Once activities have been completed, there are special certificates and badges to collect. Finish eight tasks to receive a CREST Award.
You could quite easily incorporate and run CREST SuperStar in your lessons over a term or as part of a science club, so it is very flexible.
It is an agile, ambitious and extremely competent set of resources that is bursting with creativity and insight which will build science capital and a range of transferable skills.
The only thing missing is the addition of art into the mix, which would make it a truly cross-curricular resource.
You are looking for a first-class extra-curricular STEM intervention with tried-and-tested credentials.
Priced from £1 per child, find out more at crestawards.org.
Reviewed by John Dabell
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