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When the oceanographer Robert D. Ballard explores underwater volcanoes and 2,000-year-old shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea next May, some 200,000 schoolchildren will join him--via satellite television transmission.

A giant teleconference from the Titanic discoverer's voyage is being planned as part of an effort to improve science education by enabling students to "share in the excitement of seeing a science expedition first-hand," according to Frank Ireton, project director for the National Science Teachers Association.

The expedition--known as the "Jason Project," after the mythical explorer--will be broadcast from May 1 to 14 to about 10 science museums around the country. The museums will be linked by telephone to scientists coordinating the venture.

To help prepare students for the event, the nsta and the National Council for the Social Studies are preparing curricular materials on history, biology, geology, and archeology.

To help guide students through the morass of leveraged buyouts, junk bonds, and greenmail, the New York Stock Exchange has updated its teaching materials for elementary, junior-high-school, and high-school classrooms.

"The more we teach young people about the capital-raising process," said Richard Torrenzano, senior vice president of the exchange, "the better able they will be to cope with the economic problems of our nation."

The materials include: You and the Investment World, a 54-page textbook for grades 9-12 that helps explain securities markets; "Taking Stock in the Future," a lesson plan for teachers that includes units on securities, the organization of the stock market, and the use of newspaper stock tables; and "The One-Man Band That Went to Wall Street," a 16-minute animated video, intended for students in grades 5 and above, that discusses the history of the stock exchange, why stock prices change, and securities regulation.

For information, write the nyse, Educational Products, Box 4191, Syossett, N.Y., 11791-4191.

Students in 20 Rhode Island elementary schools will learn about life in the developing world, under a new federally funded pilot project.

Schools participating in the program, known as "See me, share my world," will develop two-week lessons based on children's art from the Third World. The lessons are expected to examine issues such as world hunger, education, health, and culture.

Sponsored by the Foster Parents Plan, a Rhode Island-based overseas child-sponsorship organization, the project is funded in part by a $136,000 grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development.--rr

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