Why should my school, program or child participate in the CT Invention Convention?
Invention Education programs such as CIC provide an extremely effective and approachable means to teach STEM, Entrepreneurship, and important 21st Century Skills such as problem-solving, collaboration, and communication. Our program is flexible and adaptable, making it accessible to many types of learners and teaching formats. The process is highly engaging because Inventors are encouraged to bring their own unique interests and perspectives to their project. Unlike other STEM programs, invention education does not require expensive materials or specialized training in science and engineering. Educators of many different backgrounds can successfully implement CIC.
Is the Invention Convention just an event?
No, the CT Invention Convention is a long-standing K-12 STEMIE (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Innovation and Entrepreneurship) education program. We offer curriculum, professional development and programs for in-school, after school and other groups and organizations. CIC is part of a larger invention education network, connecting inventors to both National and Global competitions. A highlight of our programs is our state finals event, where student finalists from around the state present their inventions to judges from many professional backgrounds. Some state finalists are then selected to move on to the National Invention Convention event.
Who can participate in CIC?
Connecticut students in grades K-12 can participate in our programs through many avenues, including: in school programs, after school programs, homeschool groups, clubs and organizations, summer programs and as independent inventors.
What is involved in participating?
Your school or program should first decide which students you would like to participate and who from your school will be running CIC. There is no set way to run the program. It can be done in certain grade(s), during science or STEM class, after school, as a club, or in enrichment or talented and gifted programs. The program is flexible and adaptable to the needs of your school and students.
Once you know who will be participating, the CIC lead at your school should register for the program. From there we will provide curriculum access, support and PD opportunities to help you successfully run Invention Convention at your school.
Students in your program will each come up with an idea for a unique invention, documenting the process in a logbook. In late winter/early spring, your school will decide which projects/inventors will move on to our online semi-finals round. Semi-finalists will then submit their logbooks, along with a short video, to our online judging system. From there, judges will help to decide who will move on to our in-person state finals event at the end of the school year.
Do students invent individually or in teams?
For the 22-23 Invention year, inventors may compete as individuals or as a team of two inventors. No more than two inventors are allowed on a team.
How is this different from a science fair?
A science fair project is often based in research and experimentation, while Invention Convention requires students to create a unique solution to a specific problem.
While there are some similar elements to a science fair (e.g. doing research, collecting data, communicating ideas) the process is often less formal than a science fair. For example, inventors often do not need to conduct a scientific experiment to test their ideas. Oftentimes, user feedback is gathered and used to improve a design. Invention is all about trial and error - we encourage failing forward and trying out multiple ideas.
How many students from my school can participate?
There is no limit to how many students can participate from your school. It’s up to each school or program to decide who and how many students should be involved. In January, we let each registered program/school know how many of their students can advance to our state semi-finals event. This number is a percentage of your overall participating students, and depends on how many programs and students in CT are participating in the given year.
How much does the program cost? What do you get?
Why do you have both online and in-person components?
Since its inception nearly 40 years ago, CIC has traditionally been an in-person event. In the last few years, like many programs, CIC had to adapt and offer virtual experiences for students.
While there are many benefits to online formats (more students can participate, judges from around the world can evaluate projects etc.) we also recognize that nothing can replace a live and in-person experience. By hosting both online and in-person finals events, we can continue to meet the ever-increasing demand for more students to participate, maximize the power of online judging platforms, and continue to offer the in-person threshold experience that has been a cornerstone of CIC.
When does the program occur?
Programs can register for CIC from September through December 31st. For programs looking to register after December 31st, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about participation.
While some programs begin CIC in the fall, others choose to teach Invention Convention in the winter, in preparation for our semi-finals event at the end of March. You’ll want to complete your school-based program (and any showcase event your school may want to hold) prior to the semi-finals registration deadline in mid-March, so that students moving on to our state event have time to register and submit their project materials.
Following the online semi-finals judging round in the spring, selected inventors will be invited to attend our in-person finals event which occurs around June.
What if I’ve already planned my curriculum for the year?
CIC can be implemented as primarily an at-home, homework-based or extra credit project; however some in-class support and check-ins will be necessary. Educators are also welcome to attend a PD session, serve as a volunteer or judge and/or attend our in-person event to learn more about the program in preparation to run CIC in the future.
Is training required to run CIC?
We highly recommend that all new CIC participants attend a training session. We offer virtual and in-person professional development sessions periodically in the fall and winter for both new and veteran CIC participants. Virtual PD sessions are offered during after school hours and run about 90 minutes. Training will provide a solid foundation to run the program and familiarize you with some of our activities. CIC staff is also here to support you and your students throughout the process!
CIC can also accommodate requests for schools, districts or programs that would like specialized or more in-depth training.
What if I'm not an engineering or science teacher?
CIC is approachable for educators of all backgrounds. While having knowledge of STEM is helpful, it is not a prerequisite for success in teaching invention. CIC offers a range of activities and lessons that help to teach invention skills. You can choose what activities work for you, or bring in your own ideas.
How are inventors chosen to advance to invention convention events?
Your school or program will decide how you’d like to showcase your student’s inventions and who will move on to our state semi-finals event. You can use our official CIC rubric as a guide, or create your own judging criteria. Your school-based event can be as large or as small as you like. Each school will be allowed to select a certain number of semi-finalists based on the total number of participants at the school.
From there, state semi-finalists will submit their projects online, including their logbook and a short video, where judges from many backgrounds will view and evaluate their work. Projects in each grade with the highest overall scores, as well as projects up for specialty and sponsor awards, will then be invited to participate in our in-person finals event.
Here judges will walk around to view projects and prototypes, and speak with inventors about their ideas. Judges will then score the finalist projects and help to choose the winning inventions.
What do CIC finalists and winners receive?
School CIC leaders will receive templates that can be used to create certificates for both their school participants and semi-finalists.
Finalists at our in-person event will receive a CIC T-shirt and swag, certificate, and may also win a medal, trophy or special sponsor award. Some sponsor awards include other prizes or opportunities as well.
What happens after the state finals?
The top projects, as determined by overall score, will be invited to compete at the National Invention Convention the following spring. Nationals finalists can continue to work on and improve their ideas prior to the National Event.
What if my child’s school or grade is not participating?
Let your school administrators and teachers know that you would like to see CIC at your school! In the meantime, students who are not eligible to participate in CIC through their school can register as an independent inventor, which allows them to submit a project to our online semi-finals event, and possibly compete at our state finals. CIC even offers a virtual inventors club that helps to support independent inventors with their projects.
How can I sign up?
Our registration form for schools and other programs can be found here.
Parents wishing to register a child as an independent inventor can sign up here.
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