Sunday, February 26, 2017
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A Day in the Life of a CIC Judge

This year, the CIC program culminates with over 1,200 student inventors pitching their ideas to more than 400 judges at the University of Connecticut. For the students, it's the final step of a process that often begins at the start of the school year.  Teachers, gifted/talented programs, afterschool program, home-schoolers, and others sign up and download the CIC's Curricular Resources for teaching invention and innovation.  They teach students the process of invention – how to look creatively at problem solving, how to craft solutions, how to track your progress, how to restart when things don't work out the way you wanted them to. 

Most of the students coming to the Invention Convention won the right to attend by competing and placing in their school's or district's local Invention Convention.  Some students come to the CIC Finals Event representing schools that have taken part in the CIC for more than 20 years.  Some students are representing their school for the first time.  For all, it's an exciting time to showcase their ideas and get feedback.

The format of the CIC Invention Convention Finals is a Saturday event.  Students, teachers, parents, judges, staff, and others arrive at UCONN starting at 8:30am. The students set up their inventions on tables set up on the show floor – three tables in a "U" (called a "judging circles") where around ten kids will place their inventions.  There are 120+ judging circles spread across the floor, starting with the Kindergarteners and ending with the 8th Graders.  The Judges arrive at the same time for training and updates on the program, and catching up between friends.

At 10 a.m., we kick off the event with a keynote speaker and discussion of the morning's schedule.  From 10:30-12:00, the judges interview the kids in their "judging circles" – a format that involves all of the kids asking questions about each invention.  At 12:00 noon, the judges in each circle – there can be two to four judges in each circle – decide on the top three inventions, and submit these to the staff in the Judge's Room in Gampel.

Most judges then take time to walk the floor looking at inventions along with parents and other members of the general public.  Lunch is available for judges onsite.  And at 1:30-3:00, we have the announcement of judging circle winners and sponsor awards recipients.

Typical Judge's Schedule at the CIC Annual Event

8:15 NEW JUDGES ONLY! Arrival and Registration
outside of room C80 in Information Technology Engineering Building (ITEB)
Check in and pick up your judging folder at the registration desk. Refreshments are available. 

8:45 NEW JUDGES ONLY! New Judge Orientation:
Room C80 in Information Technology Engineering Building (ITEB)
The Judge Trainer will discuss judging criteria and answer any questions you may have about judging or about the day’s schedule.

9:00 EXPERIENCED JUDGES! Arrival and Registration
Location: outside of room C80 in Information Technology Engineering Building (ITEB)
Check in and pick up your judging folder at the registration desk. Refreshments are available. Orientation is at 9:30

Location: Gampel Pavilion
Meet Sponsor Judge Host, Helen Charov, at the main Speakers Podium in Gampel Pavilion for special instructions, letters of Awards for students, and other information that you may need. Do not go to the Information Technology Engineering Building for Standard Judge Training.

Location: Room C80 in Information Technology Engineering Building (ITEB)
The Judge Coordinator will explain table assignments and selection process following judging.

Gampel Pavilion
Proceed to Gampel Pavilion, to your RESERVED SEATING FOR JUDGES, for the opening ceremony. Judges will be introduced by profession. Judging assignments will be distributed.

10:30 - 12:00 JUDGING CIRCLES 
Location: Gampel Pavilion
Greet your students and check their names against those on your roster. If you have a student who is not on your roster, and not in the same grade as your group, please take the student to a CIC official at the podium to clarify where he/she belongs.
Please distribute the Participation Certificates found in your judging circle. Ask the students to verify that all the information on their certificate is correct. Mark-up any the incorrect certificates and pass to a “runner” located at the end of each row. A corrected version will be brought back to you by the end of the judging circle time period.

Introduce yourself and tell them your occupation. Congratulate all the students on being selected to represent their schools at the CIC. These students need to feel they are the best of the best of their schools.

Give each student an opportunity to talk about their invention and to answer questions from you and from the other students in the group (at least 5 minutes per student, but no more than 10 minutes). All students in your group need to listen to the presentations. Compliment any valid point you see in presentation, thought-process, and presentation. Try to keep everyone’s attention throughout the judging circle and KEEP VOICES DOWN. Also, keep students from seeing your record sheets or from overhearing comments between judges.

After completing discussions, please let students know that you appreciate how much effort went into creating their inventions.

Please release students only after their parents have initialed (on the score sheet) for their release.

12:00 - 12:30 Completion of Judging Evaluation
Location: Gampel Pavilion
You may want to review log books and displays as you confer with the other judge(s) in your group and select three recognized inventors from your group. Each of these three will receive the same award. Fill out their names on the Award Sheet and give it to the Certificate Staff by 12:30 (located in “Judge Lounge” behind the southwest stands at court level). Please fill out the Potential Press Coverage Candidates sheet for those students possessing what you might consider TV Talk Show talent (humorous, extra smart, great idea, great presentation skills etc. Add comments about their abilities.)

12:00 - 1:30 Lunch and Public Viewing of Inventions
Location: Information Technology and Engineering Building (ITEB) and Gampel Pavilion
Lunch will be provided for you in the lobby of ITEB. Use this time to network with other judges or you may return to Gampel Pavilion to view all student inventions.

1:30 - 3:00 Closing Ceremony
Location: Gampel Pavilion
You are invited (but not required) to join us for the awards presentation. (It is an exciting event - you really might want to stay, especially to see the inventors you selected get their awards!) 

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