Let students choose their favorite topics to study and then seek out the best hands-on STEM curriculum and activities that meet the students’ interests. That’s how Indiana GEAR UP officials are ensuring high student engagement within their program, according to Executive Director Dr. Virginia Bolshakova.

“We surveyed our students to get feedback from them,” Bolshakova said. “When we asked what they enjoyed the most in the out-of-school programs, it was using tools, it was creating things with their hands, it was designing not just an idea but actually making something or doing something with that idea.”

Indiana GEAR UP is a seven-year...

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