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Column One: Curriculum

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As the National Aeronautics and Space Administration began combing the heavens for radio signals that might provide evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations, science teachers and researchers worked to develop a series of interdisciplinary science-curriculum guides that focus on the search for life in the cosmos.

On Columbus Day, NASA's High Resolution Microwave Survey began sweeping the skies from a ground-based array of listening posts in California and Puerto Rico in an attempt to detect communiques from other planets.

Part of a 20-year effort--formerly known as Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Microwave Observing Project--based at NASA's Ames Research Center, the H.R.M.S. is the most intensive search yet conducted for life beyond Earth.

Aiming to bring the project into schools, an offshoot of SETI, known as the Science Curriculum Project--jointly funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation--is developing a series of six curriculum guides for teachers in grades 3-9 that it hopes to make available to teachers by 1994.

The idea for the curriculum project "really came from the fact that when [NASA researchers] were out giving talks on SETI, kids were fantastically interested in the project,'' said David Milne, the science-education coordinator for the nonprofit SETI Institute.

The guides still are largely in draft form, but a limited number of volunteer teachers are needed to review them before they are published. More information is available from the SETI Institute at (415) 961-6633.

A major electrical-products company has launched a national campaign this fall to raise sorely needed funds for books in schools and libraries.

The Sylvania Lighting division of G.T.E. has pledged to pay schools and libraries 10 cents for every Universal Product Code collected from a Sylvania product and sent to the company on a quarterly basis. The money must be used toward the purchase of books.

In addition to boosting sales of Sylvania products, said Robert Brands, the division's marketing manager, the campaign is intended to alleviate budget cutbacks facing libraries nationwide in recent years.

Educators and librarians who wish to participate can get in touch with the division for a free start-up kit that includes a collection box, posters, and a letter explaining the program to parents. The address is: America's Official Reading Time, c/o Sylvania Lighting, P.O. Box 965, West Seneca, N.Y. 14224 (Book Program); (800) 544-4828.
--P.W. & D.V.

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