Students score well in Sumdog

Ten Hood River students placed in the top 10 in the Northern Oregon Sumdog mathematics contest.

“Sumdog” ( is a free online math contest where students play math games that are designed to improve mental math fluency at grades 1-8.

They focus on number and operation skills and algebra, according to Jane Osborne, K-12 math coach for Hood River County School District.

“It’s great to see kids excited to play math games and become more fluent while having fun,” Osborne said.

For a second year in a row, Ben Fick, a fifth-grader at Westside Elementary, took first place in the math contest.

Ben answered 975 questions correctly.

Also placing were Jayston Pierce, Westside fifth-grader; Poppy Miller, May Street fourth-grader; Dylan Santee, Westside fourth-grader; Payton Bunch, Westside fifth-grader; Maverick Geller, Westside fifth-grader; Clayton Lee, Westside fifth-grader; Josue Martinez, Mid Valley fourth-grader; Hailey Betts, May Street fourth-grader, and Ayden Smith, fifth-grader at Westside.

These students answered about 1,000 questions correctly during the contest. More than 624 students participated in the five-day contest in December.

Most of the games are multiplayer, letting students around the world practice their math against one another. There are more than 20 different games to choose from.

Sumdog adapts the questions to each student’s ability. Although the games are all different, they all have one thing in common: You need to answer math questions to make progress.

“The more questions they answer correctly, the more students will progress in games,” Osborne said. “Each game can be used to practice any of Sumdog’s math topics — so you never need to be bored while practicing your math!”

The top-scoring students are from Westside, Mid Valley and May Street Elementary Schools.

Sample Questions:

n What is 1/2 of 4?

n 0.6 + 0.1 equals:

(Choose from 0.4, 1.1, 0.6, or 0.7

n 18 rounded to the nearest 10 is:

(Choose from: 30, 10, 1, or 20

n 23-8 equals?

(Choose from: 15, 16, 19, or 18)

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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