Primary challenges (ages 5-11)

Typically completed by 5-11 year olds, CREST Star and SuperStar challenges relate to everyday experiences. Children complete eight activities to gain a CREST Award, with each activity taking between 45 minutes and one hour to complete.

The activities are designed to be easy-to-run and low-cost. You don’t need to be a teacher, have a science background or have access to specialist equipment to run them. The packs contain helpful hints and tips for you to use, explaining the scientific themes and offering guidance on conversation topics for your children.

There are more CREST approved resources that have been developed by our partners and providers specific to your region.

To browse the packs, click the buttons below or scroll down.

5 years ago

All SuperStar challenges

  • Text
  • Handson
  • Stem
  • Challenges
  • Discussion
  • Explore
  • Create
  • Experiment
  • Investigate
  • Toothpaste
  • Materials
  • Glue
  • Tomato
  • Yoghurt
  • Superstar
The activities in this pack have been selected from our library of CREST SuperStar challenges. Children need to complete eight challenges to achieve a CREST SuperStar Award. If you want, you can mix and match challenges from different packs, as long as children complete eight SuperStar challenges. This resource is published under an Attribution - non-commercial - no derivatives 4.0 International creative commons licence (

Colorado Brown Stain

Colorado Brown Stain Activity Card The Diary of Dr Frederick McKay May 1901 As a dentist in Colorado Springs, I am puzzled by the number of patients whose teeth are stained with brown spots – often as dark as chocolate. I call it ‘Colorado Brown Stain’. Nobody knows what is causing the stain. It is worse in patients who have lived here all of their lives. I wonder what it might be? September 1908 We have begun the first ever investigation of this strange stain. We are visiting every school in Colorado Springs and looking at the teeth of every child. We are making careful notes and asking every parent detailed questions. January 1931 I now have the results of tests on drinking water from several towns affected by brown stains. They all have high levels of the chemical called fluoride. This is unheard of! As the water from rain or snow trickles down the rocks in these areas, it must be picking up the fluoride naturally. Is this the solution to all my years of research? I wonder what would happen if we added fluoride to the drinking water for everyone? We would have to get the amount of fluoride just right so that we do not cause more of the brown stain! December 1909 We have inspected 2,945 children. 90% have some brown stain; and all of these children were born in the Pikes Peak region of Colorado Springs. It’s astounding! These children have less tooth decay. I wonder if there is a link between the brown stain and very strong teeth? Your challenge Should your water company put fluoride in the drinking water? Discuss Have you head of fluoride before? What do you think about Dr Frederick McKay’s idea?

Getting started To help you to decide, we have found out what 16 people think. Why not sort these into ideas for and against putting fluoride in drinking water? You could cut them out and stick them in two columns. Cut around the dashed lines on the speech bubbles. Some people are allergic to fluoride and will have to buy expensive bottled water. Adding fluoride to water is one of the greatest ways to improve health. Different people drink different amounts of water. Some will get more fluoride than others. We save thousands of pounds in dental care by adding fluoride to water. It costs thousands of pounds to add fluoride to water. More than 150 million Americans and 6 million people in Great Britain drink water with fluoride in it. We would have known about it if there was a problem. Adding fluoride to water is one of the greatest ways to improve health. Some studies show that fluoride in water can cause health problems, including lower intelligence levels in children. There is fluoride in toothpaste so why put it in water? A study in America of almost 30,000 school children, born after fluoride was added to their water, showed that tooth decay had dropped more than 60%. Many people in poor areas cannot afford toothpaste but their teeth will still be strong if there is fluoride in their drinking water. Fluoride is safe, if used correctly. Cough mixture and salt are poisonous in large amounts. No-one is worried about that! One study showed that elderly people living in areas with fluoride added to water had fewer bone problems. Test your ideas There’s no real proof that fluoride is harmful. Most studies are unreliable and have found no difference between cities with fluoride in the water and those without. Now you have looked at some evidence, do you think fluoride should be added to the water? What would you recommend to your water company? Share your ideas You could make some notes about your ideas. It would be fun to use what you have found out to write a script for a TV programme where people argue from different points of view about adding fluoride to water. You could act it out for your friends. Extra things to do It is impossible to control how much fluoride people get. Fluoride is used to strengthen and protect teeth – that’s why we must add it to drinking water. Scientists and politicians say that adding fluoride to water is completely safe. It is impossible to add too much fluoride to the water • Find out more about Dr McKay’s research after 1931 • Look for information about adding fluoride to toothpaste and water • Contact a local water board to find out what they do British Science Association Registered Charity No. 212479 and SC039236

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Star level

Collections of one hour challenges recommended for children aged 5-7 years that relate to children’s everyday experiences. Find out more about this level and how to gain a CREST Award on the CREST Star page.

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SuperStar level

Collections of one hour challenges recommended for children aged 7-11 years that realate to broader situations that children are likely to have come across. Find out more about this level and how to gain a CREST Award on the CREST SuperStar page.

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