Executive Summary of CIC
The Connecticut Invention Convention
Critical K-8 Educational Programs for Inspiring Tomorrow’s Inventors
The Connecticut Invention Convention (CIC) is a 34-year-old, 501c3 nonprofit organization which operates primarily with a small staff and volunteers throughout Connecticut. Our goal is to provide K-8 students in Connecticut with opportunities to develop and enhance critical thinking skills and creative problem-solving techniques through inventing activities. Our mission is to ensure that this educational program instils the inventive spirit in students today and for the rest of their lives. Based on state and national Curriculum Standards and teaching persistence through problem solving, CIC’s program naturally emphasizes building 21st Century skills for the future workforce of Connecticut.
Compared to other nations, US students are standing still or falling behind in math and science achievement. Recent research shows:
- 65% of students make their decisions regarding science careers by the 8th grade
CIC’s mission is to “catch them early” with science, technology, engineering and math activities embodied in the inventing process.CIC has been acclaimed as an award-winning science program for encouraging K-8 students to start thinking about a career path in engineering and technology. In 2016, CIC received two prestigious awards, the 2016 Connecticut Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Sig Abeles Science Advocacy Award and the 2016 Connecticut Science Center Award for STEM Education. The Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) has stated that the CIC Program contains “best practices” for informal science activities in grades K-8, and annually recognizes its middle school inventors. CIC has partnered for over a decade with the University of Connecticut School of Engineering, School of Business, and the School of Education. The CIC showcases its inventors in a permanent exhibit at the Connecticut Science Center.
CIC invented and refined a 6-8 week curriculum which is now used in more than 247 elementary and middle schools in Connecticut. Each fall, teachers trained in the CIC curriculum ask their students to identify a vexing problem they encounter in their lives. The children then consider possible solutions, select one, and refine it into a working prototype.
Nearly 17,000 Connecticut students are involved in the program annually and compete at local and regional competitions for the opportunity to represent their school at the state convention.
- Over 1,200 children vie for top state laurels before teams of judges from industry, education and government.
- Students present their inventions at "CIC Day at the Capitol" in April where they meet with state legislators and officials.
- Select CIC Finalists are chosen to represent Connecticut at the National Invention Convention in Washington, DC
It is anecdotally shown that students who participate in the CIC program, especially if active in consecutive years, show better problem-solving skills and are better equipped to meet science inquiry-based standards. Students brought up in an educational culture of "invention" throughout their elementary school years begin to apply these techniques to all problem solving, a profound shift affecting every aspect of their critical thinking, as reported by CIC teachers. Often these young inventors are inspired not only to create a better mousetrap for a possible patent, but to solve problems they identify as needed for a better planet, i.e., for the handicapped, “green,” or broadly useful for the common good.
To meet its goal of providing “every child in every school with an inventing experience once, better twice," the CIC actively promotes, recruits, trains and supports new teachers in schools and districts statewide, especially in underserved urban schools. In 2012, CIC was in less than 100 schools; in 2016, the CIC program was implemented in 247 schools, representing an estimated 17,000 students. Currently, the CIC serves only 15% of elementary and middle schools, and in some districts there are no CIC programs at all.
Connecticut towns which currently have CIC invention programs in grades K-8 schools or after school programs:
|Deep River||Derby||East Granby||East Hampton|
|New Britain||New Canaan||New Hartford||New Haven|
|New London||New Milford||Newington||Newtown|
|Norfolk||North Stonington||North Windham||Northford|
|Norwich*||Oakville||Old Lyme||Old Saybrook|
|*District-wide program||**City Jump Start CIC Initiative|