WORLD OF MARVELS STUDENTS INTRIGUED BY SCIENCE GADGETS.
SIMI VALLEY - Today's Mountain View School sixth-graders may well be tomorrow's astronauts after their experiences Tuesday at a science fair, some of which literally made their hair stand on end.
The three-day annual event, Science Fair 2000, being held at Boeing's Rocketdyne Propulsion and Power facility in Canoga Park, is aimed at interesting students in science and the natural world.
``It's really an outstanding day,'' said Mountain View Principal Denise Vale. ``The kids come back so excited about what they've learned, and I think it allows them to look at the world in a different way.
``This was the third year we've attended this event and it gets better every year. By far, this was the most outstanding presentation.''
About 800 area students and their teachers from 14 area schools are slated to attend the fair during its three-day run.
Those from Simi Valley's Atherwood Elementary School and Sinaloa Middle School attended the fair Tuesday. Big Springs Elementary in Simi Valley and Hillcrest Christian School are scheduled to attend Thursday.
During their 30-minute visit, Mountain View School students and teachers got a hands-on experience of exhibits ranging from lava lamps to gyroscopes. And they watched their hair stand on end when they touched a metal ball charged with static electricity, said Vale.
At the fair, engineers demonstrated how the world's natural forces - from gravity to electricity - work, using props such as bicycle wheels.
``I think it does pique their understanding and curiosity regarding the world around them, and I think it enables them to ask questions about these things that happen on a daily basis,'' said Vale. ``And possibly we'll be looking at the next (crop of) astronauts.''
Photo: (1 -- color) Sudhesh Mahesan, an Atherwood School sixth-grader from Simi Valley, watches a gyroscope balance on a string.(2) Lalana Aramthaveethong, a sixth-grader at Sinaloa Middle School in Simi Valley, listens through a space phone.Evan Yee/Staff Photographer