Problems for NZYST 2020 Tournament

The 7 problems are :


1. Slow match

A cord in which the flame front propagates with a constant low speed has been important to ignite cannons. Produce such cords and investigate their burn rates and other properties.


2. Popping bouy

A light ball is held underwater and then released. The ball may sometimes pop above the water surface. Investigate this effect and the role of important parameters.


3. Disinfectants

Prepare sterile culture dishes and investigate the growth of door handle bacteria and other common microorganisms. Investigate how various disinfectants, such as antibacterial soap, affect the bacteria.


4. Magnet and matchstick

A matchstick is not attracted to a magnet, however the head of a burned matchstick is attracted by a strong magnet. Investigate the reasons and the role of relevant parameters.


5. Hydrogen release

A simple method to produce gaseous hydrogen is the reaction between metal aluminum and two salts in aqueous solution (e.g. copper sulphate and sodium chloride). Investigate how the reaction rate depends on the concentration of each salt and other relevant conditions. What salts react with aluminum to release hydrogen?


6. Onion cells

Investigate the effects of various salts on the structure of onion cells.


7. Invent yourself: Soap production

Vegetable and animal oils and fats are historically used to make soap. Investigate how physical and chemical properties of such soap depend on ingredients and recipes, and propose an interesting problem concerning soap-making from easily accessible ingredients.

Writing your own "Invent Yourself" original problem

"Invent yourself" problems are open ended starters. You need to choose your own original problem that focuses on an interesting aspect of the phenomenon. This will need to be formally written and disclosed to the other teams prior to the tournament.

eg. In 2018 there was a problem:

13. Invent Yourself: Blood pressure
Study the accuracy of various methods to measure blood pressure. Propose an interesting study
involving blood pressure and pulse.

The NZ team investigated and submitted:

"13. Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure is inherently variable. Investigate how this phenomenon affects the reliability of different methods used to diagnose hypertension."

Problems for NZYST 2019 Tournament

The 7 problems are :


1. Sunflower spirals

Patterns of seeds in the head of a sunflower have a very specific geometric structure. How can one describe and explain such a structure? What other plants demonstrate similar geometric patterns in their leaves or seeds?


2. Burning glass

Propose and test various methods to start a fire with a magnifying glass.


3. Smells

Smells spread through the air, however it would take some time before a human nose is able to detect the smell. Study different aspects of odor diffusion and sensation of odor by humans.


4. Fading in sunlight

Printed pages fade in direct sunlight, especially if certain types of ink and paper are used. Propose quantitative parameters to study the prolonged exposure of ink and paper to sunlight.


5. Elastic bones

Chicken bones kept in acidic conditions for a few days become elastic. Perform such an experiment in controlled conditions and investigate what components of bones are responsible for their mechanical properties.


6. Yeast

Investigate the rate of the multiplication of yeast at different temperatures.


7. Moon

The apparent size of the Moon perceived by an observer depends on multiple factors. Investigate these factors and their role.


2020 NZYST
NZYPT 2020

© 2018 by ACJ. Proudly created with