Core Knowledge, a program for elementary and middle schools, is designed to improve reading and math skills of younger students not by teaching those subjects in isolation but by embedding science, history, art, music and other subjects in the lessons.

This makes the curriculum more interesting to students, the program's designers say, and adds many words to students' vocabularies and names to their knowledge of history and art that they will need when they are required to read and study on their own in later grades.

Here are some topics taught in early grades:

Kindergarten: Line and color in such works as Matisse's "Purple Robe," Picasso's "Le Gourmet" and Diego Rivera's "Mother's Helper." Such sculptures as the Statue of Liberty and the mobiles of Alexander Calder. Magnetism.

First Grade: The civilization of ancient Egypt, the geography of Africa and the Sahara Desert, the importance of the Nile River and hieroglyphics. The concept of atoms, the three states of matter and measurement.

Second Grade: Susan B. Anthony and the right to vote, Eleanor Roosevelt and human rights, Mary McLeod Bethune and educational opportunity, Jackie Robinson and the integration of major league baseball and Rosa Parks and the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott. Magnetic poles, magnetic fields and the law of attraction.

Third Grade: Geometry, including pentagons, hexagons and octagons and computing area in square inches and square centimeters.

Fourth Grade: Electricity, how electromagnets work and simple circuits.