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In an unusual collaboration, the Children's Television Workshop and the International Business Machines Corporation have joined forces to develop interactive, computer-centered elementary school science-curriculum materials.

The first products of the joint venture--"Through the Woods'' for 1st graders and "At the Seashore'' for 2nd graders--will be part of the K-6 "Nature of Science'' product line marketed by EDUQUEST, I.B.M.'s Atlanta-based K-12 subsidiary.

Both will be available in the spring.

The products use compact-disk-based "digital video interactive'' technology, which, when accessed through a CD-ROM drive, allows students to take simulated field trips through the use of video clips, photographs, and animation.

Students control the direction of their "visit'' by clicking a computer mouse, which also allows them to enlarge images of plants and animals for detailed inspection.

The products are accompanied by a list of hands-on activities that have been developed as an integral part of the curriculum.

They suggest, for example, that students care for such animals as snails and goldfish to better understand the biological principles laid out in the computer field trips.

The package includes workbooks and a 230-page teacher's guide.

Company officials said that both products correlate to the underlying theme of inquiry-based learning that underpins standards for science teaching being developed by the National Academy of Sciences as well as to state curriculum frameworks and other national reform projects.

The Boy Scouts of America is offering a character-development curriculum to the nation's schools.

The "Learning for Life'' program provides specific lesson plans for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Featured topics include accepting consequences, decisionmaking, sticking to what is right, and understanding people with problems.

A 5th-grade lesson on money management, for example, asks students to discuss what they would do if they were given $100. Among the choices they are provided are hiding the money in a mattress, purchasing a savings bond, or buying a bicycle.

Schools interested in the program should get in touch with their local Boy Scouts council.--PETER WEST & KAREN DIEGMUELLER

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