If you want general information about the Victorian Young Physicists’ Tournament, click here.

Problems, Registration, Competition


1. Bouncing wet ball: A wet tennis ball bounces along the path. It leaves a series of splotches. The splotches vary in size and spacing. Investigate the pattern and the factors that affect the pattern.

2. Popping body: A body is submerged in water. After release it will pop out of the water. How does the height of the pop above the water surface depend on the initial conditions (depth and other parameters)?

3. Rocking bottle: Partially fill a bottle with some liquid. Lay it down on a horizontal surface and give it a push. The bottle may first move forward and then oscillate before it comes to rest. Investigate the bottle’s motion.

The team of three students do all three topics.

Guiding questions and hints for VYPT Topics in 2017 33.3 kB

A one page A4 document.


Teachers do not need to officially register school teams until the Friday of the first week of term 4. Registration is free. Schools should download the registration form below, which has space for the following information:

  • School’s Name.
  • Teacher’s name and full contact details.
  • The name of each school team, their year level and the names of the students in each team as well as the topics each student will be reporting on and critiquing.
  • Name of person to act as judge and their status *
  • The form should also include the principal’s signature **

*: The teacher is expected to participate in judging. If a school wishes to register additional teams, then an extra judge is required by each additional two teams. The extra judge(s) can be either another science teacher, a lab tech, a student who has competed in VYPT before or a parent with a science background.

**: This is a large and complex event. It not only involves many people acting in a voluntary capacity, but it is also time consuming to organise. Consequently any withdrawal of a team is a major disruption. So there will be a penalty of $50 to the school for the withdrawal of a team to cover the additional administrative costs.

The form should be forwarded to the Vicphysics either as an email attachment with subject heading, ‘Registration: VYPT’ or posted to Vicphysics Teachers’ Network, PO Box 290, Flinders Lane, VIC, 8009.

VYPT Registration Form 32.3 kB

Videos of the Tournament

At the 2014 Victorian Young Physicists’ Tournament, Terry Tan, then at John Monash Science School videoed the competition as did some of the other teachers. Terry edited the footage into two packages, i) a short one using extracts from different contests to show the key features of a contest and ii) a longer one of one complete contest. See links below.

Short video of Victorian Young Physicists’ Tournament
A longer video of Victorian Young Physicists’ Tournament

The Vicphysics Committee appreciates the tremendous amount of work by Terry in chasing up school approvals and then editing the material into these packages.

Powerpoints from previous tournaments can be found and downloaded from the ‘Results’ sections of 2011 tournament and the 2013 tournament.


A round robin will be held during the morning and the early afternoon. Each team will compete in six 30 minute contests, three reporting and three critiquing. Each team member will be required to report on one topic and critique another. So, each team member will have two opportunities to speak.

Date, Times, Lunch and Venue: 24th October, Physics Department, Monash University

Times. Registration: 9:00am, First Contest: 9:30am, Finish: About 3:30pm if there are an even number of teams and so 6 rounds; About 4:00pm, if there are an odd number of teams, requiring an extra round.

Lunch is provided. The registration form has space to enter any special dietary requirements.

Seeking Judges

Each contest will be judged by a panel of three, made up of at least one teacher, university students and others. Lunch is provided. New judges will judge 2 or 3 contests. If you would like to assist with the judging or have any queries, please contact Vicphysics.

Judging Criteria

Below are the criteria to be used in 2017. They have been modified slightly from those used in 2016 to reflect the following aspects of experimental method:

  • the uncertainty of measurements, that is, how accurately a measuring instruments can be read,
  • the need for repeated trials, at least five, when there are sources of possible error, such as using a stop watch,
  • A broad range of values for the independent variables, as least seven, so that there are sufficient data points on the graphs to discern a pattern.
  • the preliminary data is analysed and graphed to identify whether some data points shold be re-measured and also whether measurements should be taken for additional data values either inside or outside the initial range.

In the past some students seemed to adopt a cursory approach to measurement and the experimental phase of an investigation. This phase is the centrepiece of the investigation and it requires some time. A period or two on data collection is not going to be sufficient to fully explore the topic. Initial data should be analysed promptly while the equipment is still set up so that possible trends can be identified and so further explored and reinforced. Also outliers on the graphs may need closer examination and re-checking with repeat measurements.

Guidance on Reports and Critiques for VYPT 33.3 kB

Updated guidance notes for students.

Assessment Criteria for VYPT 59.9 kB

Updated criteria for 2017.


There is a trophy for the school of the winning team. Members of the top Year 10 and Year 11 teams receive a book and a cash prize. All other participants receive cash prizes.