The Connecticut Invention Convention builds standards-based inquiry skills in students K-12 by introducing and leading them through the creation of their own invention to solve a problem of their own choosing.
The CIC program is open to all K-12 students both in and out of school. We provide the resources for students to learn invention and then the venue for your students to present their hard work. The program’s flexibility allows you to teach the program in a variety of settings and in the timeframe your school or program needs.
The students who solve problems in our program today go on to become the innovators of tomorrow! Inventors in our program control their own learning and process. Invention is rewarding for all types of learners. In addition, many of our inventors garner local, state, and national attention for the effort they and their teachers put into the program.
The benefits to students:
Benefits to School/Program:
A Step-by-Step Overview of Invention Education at Your School
Select staff and Register
Decide who at your school or program will be the lead CIC Educator and contact person for your program. This person will register for the program and receive regular updates from us. Registration runs from September through December. Depending on how you want to implement CIC, you can involve any other educators, coordinators and staff as needed – many different people can play a role.
Decide population and schedule for the program
There are many different ways to successfully implement CIC. You can involve as many students as you like, and can target one particular grade, or multiple grades. CIC has successfully been run during science, STEM, enrichment, talented and gifted and after-school formats just to name a few!
Most programs implement CIC in late fall and winter in preparation to send students to our state semi-finals virtual round in mid-March. You'll want to plan to have any in-school invention showcases or competitions completed by early March, so that your chosen semi-finalists have time to submit their project information and videos to us by the deadline.
Our pacing guide outlines how the program can be run over an eight-week period, taking inventors through all the stages of invention. This is just a suggestion however. Some programs will have less time to devote, and some will have more. There is a lot of flexibility in our programs.
Set date and location for your school/district’s local convention
Know your target date for the culmination of your local curriculum – your school/district Invention Convention. You will need to hold your school/program event prior to the CIC event registration deadline dates, so that you have enough time to select and register your inventors moving on to the CIC online semi-finals event. Your school event can be big or small depending on your timing and resources, and CIC staff is here to support you when planning your school events.
Set budget and secure funding
While running an Invention Convention program at your school is not expensive, some funds are required. The average school will spend the following each year:
CIC runs professional development sessions for new and veteran teachers
Hold a “Kick-Off Meeting” for all interested students
Get students excited and motivated to participate in the program. This is particularly important if you are running the Invention Convention program outside of your normal school curriculum. Tell parents about your plans and ask for their support. The CIC offers resources to registered schools to help get your students excited about the program (videos, flyers, success stories).
Plan instruction time
Instruction typically takes 6-12 weeks depending on how often classes are held. Some schools build this into their daily or weekly coursework during school; some make this an after school or enrichment program. Plan enough time for students to engage in invention skill building activities, plus create their own invention. Students can work on their inventions outside of school time as well. Once you are ready, begin the program.
Hold your own local Invention Convention
At the conclusion of your school program, host a school or district Invention Convention event. This can be as big or small as you like. You can engage local businesses, civic organizations and other volunteers to come and judge the exhibits using CIC-provided judging materials. Invite families and other classes to come in and view the displays.
Select the inventors to attend the CIC Semi-Finals Event
The number of inventors who can move on to the CIC State Semi-Finals from your school or program will be communicated to you in January, once we know how many students overall in the state are participating. Each school or program chooses the inventors they would like to move on to the Semi-Finals, and we provide you with detailed directions for parents to submit their inventor's project online.
While parents are asked to register their child's project if they are selected as a semi-finalist, educators can be very helpful with this process. For example, teachers may assist with scanning inventor logbooks and in helping finalists film their short submission video.
We will notify program leads of any semi-finalists from your school/program who will be moving on to the in-person finals competition - typically this happens in late April after our virtual and sponsor judges have had time to review all the projects online.
State finalists' parents will then RSVP/register for the in-person event, which takes place in early June at the University of Connecticut Storrs campus. Again, educators are often important here in helping ensure their finalists inventors and their projects are ready for the state competition. Teachers are welcome, but not required, to attend state finals as guests or volunteers.
The annual school enrollment fee is $250 per school/program site.
Districts registering 4 or more sites receive a 20% district discount.
Finalists attending our in-person state finals event will be charged an event registration fee (option for school or parent pay).