Tag Archives: grade 7

Ridleian Competes at Canada-Wide Science Fair

“Don’t worry about what people will say. Just trust your instincts and do what you’re passionate about.”

– Syni Solanki ‘21

Ridley ensures that our students have ample opportunities to pursue their passions, develop grit, overcome challenges and build foundations for flourishing lives. Our school’s curriculum provides students with the ability to pursue their passions, while participating in an enriching learning experience. Projects like the Community Action Project and the PYP Exhibition, allow students to choose what area they’d like to focus on, thus giving them to opportunity to align their passions with their academic courses. This freedom to choose evokes curiosity in each student and they develop a desire to learn.

In January of this year, the Grade 7 students fused their passion with science at Ridley’s annual Lower School Science Fair. These students spent months gathering research, conducting experiments, and discovering answers to their own questions. One student in particular, Syni Solanki ’21, set out to discover a cheap and efficient way to desalinate water, which is the process of removing minerals from salt water, leaving fresh water behind.

“Water is everywhere, but is it fresh? One-third of the world’s population does not have access to clean drinking water, so I attempted to find a cheap and efficient method to bring fresh water to everyone in the world.”

– Syni Solanki ‘21

After being inspired by two news programmes – one on graphene (which is a carbon based material) and the other on water scarcity –  Syni saw a possible connection between graphene and the desalination process.  After extensive research, Syni discovered that graphene can in fact desalinate water, and it can be done using an efficient and cost-friendly method. She found that by creating a reusable graphene sand mesh, she could remove minerals from salt water.

On January 29th, Syni presented her experiment at Ridley’s annual Lower School Science Fair. Members of the Ridley community were impressed by Syni’s theory, and she was awarded First Place, but her scientific journey did not end there.


Along with four of her classmates, Syni then competed in the Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair (NRSEF). The NRSEF is an annual event, where young students from the Niagara region can demonstrate their scientific theories in a stimulating environment. Syni confidently displayed her findings, as local scientists, business professionals and engineers quizzed her on her research. During the NRSEF Awards Ceremony, Syni was awarded the Brock University Chemistry Award, The Waldie Fast Memorial Trophy and placed second in the Junior age category.

Photo courtesy of http://www.niagarasciencefair.org/wp/
Photo courtesy of http://www.niagarasciencefair.org/wp/


Due to Syni’s impressive project and her results in the Junior age category, she was asked to represent Niagara in the Canada-Wide Science Fair. This science fair celebrates Canada’s brightest young minds, featuring participants from across the country. This year, a total of 415 students travelled to Montreal, Quebec for the 2016 Canada-Wide Science Fair, being held at McGill University. The six-day event included more than just a gallery walk displaying Canada’s brightest scientists, but guests and participants could also attend keynote speakers, demonstrations and learn about the impressive research being done by the University.

Up against 162 participants in her category, Syni confidently displayed her work and earned the Bronze medal and a $1000 entrance scholarship to Western University – a truly astonishing accomplishment.

Congratulations to Syni! It is clear that with such dedication, passion and talent, Syni will flourish during her education and beyond.

Read the Niagara This Week article. 

Lower School students fuse their passion with science

On January 29th, 32 Grade 7 students eagerly lined the halls of Lower School, ready to showcase their scientific reasoning. For the past three months, these students have been exploring self-assigned hypotheses and investigating possible conclusions for the 9th annual Lower School Science Fair


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For nearly a decade, the Lower School Science Fair has encouraged young Ridleians to discover their interests and fuse them with science. Students aren’t assigned an area of study, but instead, are asked to find a topic that they are genuinely curious about. Using the online application, Science Buddies, each student answers a number of questions, rating their level of interest for everything from microbiology to psychology and even the television shows they enjoy watching. Upon completing the online application the students is then provided a list of possible science projects and topics to consider, each one relating to a topic or field that he or she enjoys. This not only creates a broad spectrum of science experiments, but also motivates the students to challenge themselves and make discoveries of their own.

According to Mr. Ben Smith, Pure and Applied Sciences Subject Coordinator and Lower School Science and Math Teacher, the main goal of the science project is not to be proven correct in their findings, but to propose a question and provide a reliable answer. “It’s just as important to fail as it is to be proven right,” says Mr. Smith.

In 2014, Jaden Kidd ’19 had a theory that bioluminescent algae, if placed in mason jars, could provide an alternative to electricity in countries with limited access. Despite his hypothesis being proven incorrect and the algae not producing the expected results, he went on to receive the Biology Award at the Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair – success is achieved through the findings and the knowledge that accompanies it rather than a proven theory.

For the past three months, the students worked in class to complete their projects, with the help of Mr. Smith. Students began with their hypotheses, predicting the conclusions of their experiments, and then proceeded with their studies. On the day of the Science Fair, after three months of hard work, these Ridleians presented their findings to curious members of the community.

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This year, judges, parents and the staff of Ridley College were blown away by the projects that our Grade 7 students produced. The students dove into the project, showcasing research that spanned a wide range of topics. Some students focused on chemistry, while others focused on the human brain. Some discovered their experiment was a success, others did not have the same outcome. Despite the results, each student was left feeling proud of their work and many intended to continue their research out of pure curiosity.

We are proud to announce this year’s winners:

First Place: Syni Solanki  – Graphene and Water Desalination

Second Place: Sakura Telfer – The Science of Spherification

Third Place: Spencer McLean – Video Game for the Blind


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These three students, along with our runner ups (Olivia Grubic; Memory Recall, Jacob Lytle; Sunflower Pith Water Filtration, and Ciara Blew; Margarine vs. Butter), will apply to represent Ridley at this year’s Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

Congratulations to all Grade 7 students, who not only challenged themselves, but also discovered their own personal passions.


Growing in Nature

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Graced with beautiful weather, Lower School students from grades 7 and 8 travelled to the Burgoyne Outdoor Education and Research Centre (BOERC) for a day filled with learning, creating and being inspired by the nature around them.

BOERC has acres upon acres of forested land, large fields and ponds, teaming with wildlife. It offers a great area for students to escape the classroom and grow in a different environment.

With that in mind, Lower School teacher’s led the students to the countryside to participate in an array of activities that allowed them to express their creativity, test their knowledge of the world around us and burn off some steam.

Divided into their tribes, the students rotated to various stations, consisting of unique activities. One such station was dedicated to frisbee golf. Using the expanse of land, students relayed discs, as a team, towards a net competing for goals. Students had to work as a team and support one another in order to claim victory. There certainly wasn’t a shortage of laughs and cheers.

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At a nearby station was an ecology activity, where students had to identify varieties of trees located on the surrounding land. This helped educate the students to be aware and appreciative of the environment in their own backyard, while testing their knowledge of ecological terminologies. Upon gazing up at the leaves and searching the ground beneath their feet, the students stumbled upon caterpillars, acorns and a beautiful array of coloured leaves.

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Our students also got into the Thanksgiving spirit with a mason jar craft station. The rustic DIY project called for the children to their jars with items they had found in nature, including leaves and acorns.

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Finally, the students sat pond-side for mindfulness and meditation time. Settled together, the students made beaded bracelets , with each bead representing a symbol that would remind its wearer to be mindful ­– water, symbolizing  personal reflection and calmness; air symbolizing freedom and breath; mountain symbolizing strength and grounding; and flower symbolizing inner beauty.

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As the day came to a close, the students piled on the bus; their arms full of their creations and minds full of new knowledge and perspectives.

How grateful we are to have a place like BOERC in our own backyard, where students can experience nature in its purest form, flourish in a new environment and be inspired by all that is around them.