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A Colorado-based developer of biology curriculum materials this month will distribute 48,000 copies of a teaching module that explores the ethical questions surrounding the Human Genome Project, a controversial, 15-year-long research effort to map all 100,000 human genes.

The Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, of Colorado Springs, working in conjunction with the American Medical Association, developed the module with support from the U.S. Energy Department.

On Sept. 15, the BSCS will send a free copy of the unit to every high school biology teacher named on a list provided by the National Science Teachers Association, according to Katherine Winternitz, the BSCS project director.

The module "is geared to a first-year biology student [who has had] some exposure to genetics,'' Ms. Winternitz said.

She explained that the BSCS does not advocate the federally funded genome project, but rather tries in the materials to "present some of the possibilities of the science [as well as] some of the limitations.''

Teachers who do not receive free copies or who want extra copies may order them for $4 each from the National Association of Biology Teachers, 11250 Roger Bacon Drive, #19, Reston, Va. 22090.

The Constitutional Rights Foundation and the Close Up Foundation of Washington have begun a three-year, $2.3 million effort to foster a more active brand of civics education.

A major aim of the program is "civics participation,'' said Marshall Croddy, the director of program development for the Constitutional Rights Foundation. He said students will also participate in "service learning'' projects, linked to the civics curriculum, in their communities.

The project, funded by the De Witt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, will begin this year in secondary schools in Jackson, Miss.; San Antonio; Jefferson County, Colo.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Omaha. Foundation officials said they hope to develop a model program that can be replicated nationwide.

Two national curriculum associations are taking steps to streamline their operations.

The National Science Teachers Association hopes to sell or lease its Washington headquarters, which it has occupied since 1974, in order to consolidate its staff in suburban Virginia.

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, meanwhile, broke ground in late June on an addition to its Reston, Va., headquarters. The NCTM also plans to add 13 employees to its 63-member headquarters staff.

--Peter West, Debra Viadero

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