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Students at some 1,200 high schools across the country participated late last month in a variety of activities intended to heighten their awareness of nuclear war, according to Ground Zero, a Washington-based association that organized the weeklong educational campaign.

The estimate is based on the number of requests for information that the organization received, according to Theo Brown, deputy director of Ground Zero.

In many schools, he said, teachers were planning to use the "mini-course" on nuclear war provided by the organization. Most of the requests, he said, were from social-studies and science teachers. The organization also made a slide show available to schools.

Some schools were planning to continue discussions of the issue after the official Ground Zero week ended. In Greenville, S.C., district officials planned to make the materials available to high-school teachers at the discretion of the principals, according to Jane Satterfield, the district's consultant for social studies.

At St. Albans School, a private high school in Washington, D.C., school officials observed the week by showing two films to students in grades 4 through 12 and sponsoring a panel discussion at the weekly meeting of a government club, ac-cording to the Rev. Robert Cain, the school's chaplain.

Among older students, he said, opinion seemed to be divided. Some were more concerned about maintaining U.S. military strength, while others were more alarmed at the prospect of a nuclear war.

The younger students, he said, seemed less inclined to think about the issue, simply because they do not know what to think. However, he noted, in one eighth-grade class, half of the students had made the commitment to read a book written by the Ground Zero organizers.

Officials from Ground Zero intend to continue working to educate the public and to develop and refine new teaching materials, Mr. Brown said. Much of that work will be done this summer.

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