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.
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Fascinating faces Activity Card Mr Stoneage Class 5 at Startown Primary School are visiting the local history museum. Mr Stoneage, the museum archaeologist, shows them some models of people from different periods in the past. Gem: ‘How do you know what the people looked like when we only have their skeletons and no photos?’ Mr Stoneage: ‘We use a technique called facial reconstruction. By looking at the bone structure of the skull, such as distance between the eye sockets and the shape of the nasal cavity (the nose).’ Cosmic Gem: ‘Cool! Can you also tell which of them have curly hair and some have straight hair?’ Mr Stoneage: ‘Not from just the skeleton, but we can by looking at their DNA - deoxyribonucleic acid.’ Cosmic: ‘What’s DNA?’ Mr Stoneage: ‘DNA is a long molecule in every cell, it contains all the instructions for making a living thing. All of the DNA in a cell is called the genome, and within the genome there are sections of DNA called genes. Genes provide instructions for our individual characteristics, and sometimes there can be small differences that alter the outcome, like giving some people brown eyes and other people blue eyes. Gem So, by looking at the DNA in the cells of these skeletons we can read the instructions, written in the four chemical letters of DNA: A, C, G, and T. The order of these letters provides instructions and can help us understand a little bit about how they looked. Actually we have the DNA code of some new skeletons, can you help us decode them?’ Your challenge Can you help Mr Stoneage figure out what the people would have looked like? Choose the profile card of the skeleton that you’d like to decode and match the DNA clue to the one on the DNA decoder card.
Discuss Why do some people look alike and some people look different? Do you share any features with members of your family, for example, the same hair colour or eye colour? What things wouldn’t we be able to find out from DNA or skeletons? Would you be able to tell if someone had been in a battle and had a scar on their face? Do you think there are some characteristics that are affected by our surroundings, rather than our DNA? Think about height, weight, health or even your personality! Where do you think archaeologists find DNA on skeletons? Why do bones last longer than hair or skin? Getting started DNA Decoder: The letters in DNA are important, because a change in the order can change the instructions, which can lead to difference in particular traits such as eye colour or hair colour. Gene DNA clue Face feature Eye colour Hair colour Hair type Freckles AA GA GG TT CT CC GG GA AA TT CT CC brown eyes green eyes blue eyes blonde hair brown hair black hair curly hair wavy hair straight hair lots of freckles some freckles no freckles Test your ideas Write down the details of your Profile Card, using the DNA decoder to fill in your chosen skeleton’s DNA code’ Skeleton ID: Time period: DNA code: Sex Man Woman Eye colour Brown Green Blue Circle the characteristics that your skeleton has Hair Colour Blonde Brown Black Hair type Curly Wavy Straight Freckles Lots Some None Share your ideas Use your findings to draw or make a model of how the person you decoded would have looked like. British Science Association Registered Charity No. 212479 and SC039236