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Science education research investigates young children’s understanding of materials in technological settings linking the concept of matter to tangible properties such as weight or heaviness. Children’s comprehension of elements enables them to support and reinforce the structural stability of towers when presented with wobbly structures. Young children understand the relationships between the properties of materials, stability, and bracing during construction. Sixty-eight families (M child age = 5.5 years) were recruited at the entrance of the Skyline building construction exhibit at a children’s museum and were randomly assigned to two conditions. This consisted of the demonstration group (experimental group) and the non-demonstration group (the control group). Children were then tasked with strengthening a wobbly structure of a skyscraper or a bridge, first with their parents followed by the second task to be completed independently. We will analyze the effect of the cross-bracing demonstration on children's building behavior in an engineering exhibit. We will discuss the ratio of functional to total pieces used, such as cross-braces or triangle pieces. We predict that children who received the cross-bracing demonstration will exhibit greater success at properly using functional pieces to create a stable structure compared to children in the control group.



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Experimental Group Differences in Children’s Bracing Ability