Utah elementary and middle school students are investigating paleontology and bankruptcy. However, these students aren't digging up dinosaurs or bouncing checks. They are studying these two words and 498 others in the 19th annual Deseret News Spelling Bee.

Utah students in fourth through eighth grades in public, private, parochial and home school programs are studying those 500 words in preparation for local spelling bee contests. Winners of these regional or group contests will then participate in the Deseret News Utah Spelling Bee Championship finals.The state spelling bee, sponsored by the Deseret News, will be Friday, March 24, at Bryant Intermediate School, 40 S. 800 East, Salt Lake City.

Out of 43 contestants representing their region or group, the state winner will receive an all-expenses-paid trip courtesy of the Deseret News to compete in the Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., the week of May 28. The Utah state spelling winner, accompanied by a parent, will be taken on sightseeing tours and will also attend National Spelling Bee awards banquet.

Students are preparing for the 1995 spelling competitions in traditional ways, but they are also using a new computer-aided method, thanks to the help of two innovative people in the Jordan School District.

Last year, Catherine Beckstead, a teacher at Quail Hollow Elementary, wanted to use computer technology to help her students learn their words for the 1993-94 Deseret News Spelling Bee. She contacted the father of one of her students, Jerry Debenham, a computer consultant and educational software designer. Debenham advised the use of "RoboTutor Words," a software authoring and tutoring program he had been working on for use at the University of Utah.

Within a couple of weeks, Beckstead had created 24 lessons to teach her students the words on the Deseret News Spelling Bee list. "The software turned the lessons I created into a variety of interactive tutorials to help the children learn the material, including an `Academic Olympics' where two students compete on a single com- puter at one time. This proved to be very stimulating to the children, for they never seem to tire of competing with each other," says Beckstead.

The computer spelling lessons were so successful that many Quail Hollow students mastered all of the words on the spelling list. Beckstead even won first place in the state for her innovative work when she submitted the program to the national Technology and Learning Competition.

As a result of this success, "RoboTutor Spelling" will be available to students statewide for the 1995 Deseret News Spelling Bee. The software for IBM PCs and compatibles is available to administrators and students for $4.95 by writing to: CAPE Associates Inc. 8980 Cheshire Drive, Sandy UT 84093. Orders may also be made by telephone at 1-801-943-4300.

Spellers who need information for participation should contact their public, private, parochial or home school district directors:

ALPINE SCHOOL DISTRICT: Cristi Denler, Alpine Education Center, 575 N. 100 East, American Fork, UT 84003.

BEAVER SCHOOL DISTRICT: Martha Bradshaw, 30 W. 300 North, Beaver, UT 84713.

BOX ELDER SCHOOL DISTRICT: Terry Jackson, Bunderson Elementary, 641 E. 200 North, Brigham City, UT 84302.

CACHE SCHOOL DISTRICT: Chad E. Downs, Cache School DISTRICT: 2063 N. 1200 East, North Logan, UT 84321.

CARBON SCHOOL DISTRICT: Karen Houser, Carbon School DISTRICT: P.O. Box 1438, Price, UT 84501.

DAVIS SCHOOL DISTRICT: LeAnn Leishman, Davis School District Office, 45 E. State, Farmington, UT 84025.

DUCHESNE SCHOOL DISTRICT: Rosalie Seamons, P.O. Box 370, Duchesne, UT 84021.

EMERY SCHOOL DISTRICT: Kirk Sitterud, P.O. Box 120, Huntington, UT 84528.

GARFIELD SCHOOL DISTRICT: Scott Barton, Bryce Valley Elementary School, P.O. Box 70, Tropic, UT 84776.

GRAND SPELLING BEE, Paula Radcliffe, Helen M. Knight Intermediate School, 168 W. 400 North, Moab, UT 84352.

GRANITE SCHOOL DISTRICT: Annette Verhaal, 340 E. 3545 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84115.

JORDAN SCHOOL DISTRICT: James Schindler, Jordan School DISTRICT: 9361 S. 300 East, Sandy, UT 84070.

JUAB SCHOOL DISTRICT: Betty Mikkelsen, 380 E. 200 North, Nephi, UT 84648.

KANE SCHOOL DISTRICT: Shirl Spencer, 100 E. Center, Orderville, UT 84758.

LOGAN SCHOOL DISTRICT: Richard Jensen, Logan City Schools, 101 W. Center, Logan, UT 84321.

MILLARD SCHOOL DISTRICT: Scott Bassett, 50 N. 100 East, Delta, UT 84624.

MORGAN SCHOOL DISTRICT: Robert Lee Bishop, Morgan Middle School, 115 E. Young St., Morgan, UT 84050-0470.

MURRAY SCHOOL DISTRICT: Dr. Janice Evans, 147 E. 5065 South, Murray, UT 84107.

NEBO SCHOOL DISTRICT: Garth Bird, Goshen School, 60 N. Center, Goshen, UT 84633.

NORTH SANPETE SCHOOL DISTRICT: Clark Walker, Fountain Green Elementary, 260 W. 100 North, Fountain Green, UT 84632.

NORTH SUMMIT SCHOOL DISTRICT: Jim Brooks, P.O. Box 497, Coalville, UT 84017.

PARK CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT: Carol Marriott, P.O. Box 1920, Park City, UT 84060.

PIUTE SCHOOL DISTRICT: Principal Bill Winn, Oscarson Elementary School, 139 W. Bullion Ave., Marysvale, UT 84750.

PROVO SCHOOL DISTRICT: Louise O. Baird, Provo School DISTRICT: 280 W. 940 North, Provo, UT 84601.

RICH SCHOOL DISTRICT: Nancy Digerness, P.O. Box 278, Randolph, UT 84064.

SALT LAKE SCHOOL DISTRICT: Ann S. Cook, Salt Lake School DISTRICT: 440 E. 100 South, Suite 208, Salt Lake City, UT 84111.

SAN JUAN SCHOOL DISTRICT: Dr. Mel Walker, San Juan School DISTRICT: 200 N. Main, Blanding, UT 84511-3600.

SEVIER SCHOOL DISTRICT: Duane Bresee, 195 E. 500 North, Richfield, UT 84701.

SOUTH SANPETE SCHOOL DISTRICT: Kirk Anderson, Manti Elementary School, 150 W. 100 South, Manti, UT 84642.

SOUTH SUMMIT SCHOOL DISTRICT: Tom Crittenden, South Summit Middle School, 325 E. 300 South, Kamas, UT 84036.

TINTIC SCHOOL DISTRICT: Thomas Nedreberg, Eureka Elementary School, P.O. Box 291, Eureka, UT 84628.

TOOELE SCHOOL DISTRICT: Maria Dickerson, Northlake Elementary, 268 N. Coleman, Tooele, UT 84074.

UINTAH SCHOOL DISTRICT: Wayne Gurney, 635 W. 200 South, Vernal, UT 84078.

WASATCH SCHOOL DISTRICT: Doug Hardy, 173 E. 200 North, Heber City, UT 84032.

WASHINGTON SCHOOL DISTRICT: LaRee Jones, 189 W. Tabernacle, St. George, UT 84770.

WAYNE SCHOOL DISTRICT: Ms. Jesse Pace, 95 W. 100 North, Bicknell, UT 84715.

WEBER SCHOOL DISTRICT: Lynne Greenwood, 5320 Adams Ave., Ogden, UT 84405.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS: Kathie Chadbourne, Meridian School, 931 E. 300 North, Provo, UT 84606.

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CATHOLIC SCHOOLS: Sr. M. Genevra Rolf, CSC, Catholic Office of Education, 27 C St., Salt Lake City, UT 84103

LUTHERAN SCHOOLS: Cathy Fisher, Lutheran Schools of Utah, 1955 E. Stratford Ave., Salt Lake City, UT 84106.

HOME SCHOOLS: Doug & Sharon Green, 3680 Shalimar St., West Valley, UT 84120.

For additional information contact the Utah State Spelling Bee directors, Stephen G. Handy and Angela Glissmeyer, at the Deseret News, 237-2135.

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