Zev News Ė February 2007


Now that soccer was over, and Benjamin had more time, he joined our Templeís Jr. Choir.† The Jr. Choir practices one day a week and sings once a month in the Family services.† Benjamin is really enjoying it.†


In February, Jonathan competed in the regional MathCounts (www.mathcounts.org) competition.† Each participating middle school sends a team of 4 to the competition and up to 4 individuals.† The competition is a series of written tests (two of which are done individually, and a third done as a team) followed by an oral competition called the countdown round.† In the countdown round, the ten top performers (based on the first two rounds) compete head-to-head on questions that are displayed using viewgraphs for everyone to see.† This is the only round that is open to parents and the general public.† First the 10th and 9th place scorers compete one-on-one, then the winner competes against the 8th place competitor and so on.


Last year, Jonathan participated in MathCounts as one of Portolaís individuals, and did as well as some of the team members, but not well enough to move on to the State competition.† This year, he competed on the Portola team.† The Portola team came in second in the regional competition, and is thus going to the state competition.† Jonathan had the best score on his team, and was ranked 6th overall in the competition.† However when he got his actual test back several days later, we learned they had marked a question wrong that was in fact correct.† We donít know if that would have affected his ranking, but even if it did, it wouldnít change anything.† As Jonathan was ranked 6th, he participated in the countdown round, but he didnít get far.† He would have done better, but at one point he misheard the answer his competitor gave (which was incorrect) so he didnít respond with the answer he came up with (which was correct) because he thought his competitor had already given it.† The countdown round is a curious thing in the MathCounts competition Ė we think they hold it to provide something of viewer interest in an otherwise completely colorless contest, but the results donít make a difference, and they didnít even seem to award prizes to the winners of the countdown round in the regional contest.


I will close with a story about the dog.† Marcís sister gave Pippen a toy for Chanuka.† Itís a stuffed penguin about 10Ē tall with a squeaker inside.† Pippen loves it.† He leaves it all over the house.† It looks like any other stuffed animal, so if the cleaning crew finds the penguin in Benjaminís room they put it on his bed (Benjaminís bed, not Pippenís!)† When this happens, Marc usually figures it out because he sees Pippen in Benjaminís room standing on his hind legs and looking around for his toy.



Jackie, Marc, Jonathan and Benjamin