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Bring the power of project-based creative thinking and problem solving to your school


Which sites are eligible to participate and become a trained CSIC educator?

  • Sites that works with K-8 students in Illinois
  • In-school classrooms (public, private, magnet, charter)
  • After school clubs
  • Out-of-school time sites (libraries, youth groups, museums)

Who CANNOT participate?

  • Sites that works with 9-12+ students
  • Sites outside of Illinois
  • Individual students or parents without affiliation with a trained CSIC educator

How do schools implement the program?

The program is a free 10-week curriculum aligned with NGSS and Common Core, but designed to be flexible. Pacing guides and modifications are available to meet individual site needs (adapting to a library site versus in school class; adapting to a semester-long program versus a 2 week accelerated club, etc.)

After being trained in our invention education curriculum, teachers are welcome to use the curriculum in whatever way works best for them.  Only teachers can know their own staffing, budgets, interest, and students’ needs.

Each school is welcome to hold a local, school-wide, or class-wide Invention Convention competition/open house to recognize all of the participating students.  A set number of finalists will then move on to compete at Chicago Student Invention Convention finals.

Potential implementation models are:

  • 10-week curriculum (most common)
  • Invention Week (intense, focused, time sensitive)
  • Invention Day (one day each week, moderate structure, longer build)
  • After School (after school, weekend, club format)
  • Independent Study in conjunction with a CSIC site (completely student driven, highly independent, still affiliated with a trained CSIC site)


What is provided to a participating CSIC site?

  • Free training, curriculum, classroom activities/rubrics/worksheets, ongoing professional development, one-on-one on-demand support
  • Option to pair with an industry professional mentor in our mentoring pathway to provide feedback and guidance on student projects
  • Option to hire near-peer teen intern (paid through After School Matters)
  • Option to partner with National Louis University to pair with pre-service teachers in an Invention Apprentice pathway for more implementation support
  • $100 supply stipend available for participating teachers who attend orientation and send students to the convention
  • Media exposure: student finalists have been featured on ABC, Fox, NBC, The New Yorker, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and WBBM Newsradio
  • Suite of resources each program cycle from sponsors and community partners. In 2020, we are celebrating:
    • Encyclopedia Britannica provided training and access to its digital learning products, LumieLabs and LaunchPacks
    • Codeverse provided training and access to Kidscript, an original programming language designed to teach kids how to code
    • Thompson Coburn LLP provided patent support for the winner of the Patent Prize at the Chicago Student Invention Convention
    • Community partners include: Code Your Dreams and SparkShop, providing on-site support and original curriculum in tandem with CSIC inventing; Momentix Toys created a Teacher Ambassador program;
  • Public celebration of invention at escalating events: the annual Chicago Student Invention Convention and the Invention Convention U.S. Nationals competition

How much does it cost?

  • This program is free, thanks to our generous sponsors.
  • All educational curriculum is free online and available to trained CSIC teachers.
  • CSIC teachers who meet program milestones (orientation and sending students to the convention) receive a $100 supply stipend
  • There is no registration fee to attend the Chicago Student Invention Convention.
  • Finalists who advance to the Invention Convention U.S. Nationals will pay the set rate to attend nationals in Dearborn, MI, as determined by the National affiliate. (Winners of certain Chicago Student Invention Convention prizes, like the Industry Award, will receive a scholarship to attend the national competition.)

What is the timeline?

  • August-September: Recruitment
  • October-December: Required Teacher Orientation (either invention education onboarding or professional development for returning instructors)
  • January-April: Curriculum Implementation with K-8 students at your site
  • April: Chicago Student Invention Convention
  • (month varies) May or June: Invention Convention U.S. Nationals in Dearborn, MI

Who attends the convention?

Across all of our sites, around 350-400 projects are accepted to the Chicago Student Invention Convention, chosen from the finalists of the school-wide competition or selected by the teacher.  The number of students selected to participate from each grade in each school is determined based on percentage of enrollment in each school.

How can my school get involved?


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