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Working with classroom teachers, the nation's largest manufacturer of computer chips has developed a package of materials designed to help elementary and middle school students better understand the mysteries of computers.

Intel Corporation of Santa Clara, Calif., is offering the package, "The Journey Inside: The Computer," free to mathematics, science, and computer teachers. It contains a teachers' guide, a videotape, a poster, and a computer-chip kit.

"Every generation has its technology, and, for today's kids, it's the personal computer," Dennis Carter, Intel's vice president of corporate marketing, said in a press release. "We hope to inspire students to want to learn more about the science behind computer technology and then give them the tools to do so."

Intel is the fourth-largest maker of computer chips, with U.S. sales of $2.3 billion in 1991.

Its 286, 386, and 486 chips, which form the heart of most personal computers, dominate the U.S. home computer market.

In addition to producing the classroom materials, Intel is also sponsoring screenings of a wide-screen IMAX film, called "The Journey Inside: A Learning Adventure in High Technology," at science museums around the country.

The film is being shown at the Louisville, Ky., Science Center and the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond through December and will be scheduled at many of the nation's almost 60 other IMAX theaters through 1995.

Accompanying exhibits that demonstrate the workings of microprocessors, how chips are made, and the basic functions of a personal computer will be displayed in theater lobbies.

The classroom materials, while they complement the concepts discussed in the film, are designed to be used independently.

The 300-page teachers' guide includes vocabulary lists, background readings, overhead transparencies, and student handouts.

Lesson plans cover such topics as chip manufacturing, the use of digital information, and a review of major inventions throughout history.

The kit also includes a microchip, transistors, diodes, and wires needed to conduct experiments included in the teachers' guide.

"The Journey Inside" kits will be available this month. To order, call (800) 346-3029.

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