About CSIC

Who We Are



To inspire curiosity, confidence, and creative problem-solving in our youth through early exposure to applied STEM.


To equip educators with the tools and resources needed to reach underrepresented students in STEM


Engage students and educators in project-based, real-world experiences that generate further exploration in STEM for years to come.


CSIC prepares K-8th graders today with the innovative skills they will need tomorrow to succeed in life and work in the 21st century.



The Chicago Student Invention Convention is a free, flexible curriculum focused on critical thinking, creativity, and innovation. It is supported by NGSS-aligned lesson plans and culminates in a final competition of student built prototypes.

CSIC uses a train-the-trainer model, offered free of charge, to train any K-8th grade educator in-school or out-of-school-time in Chicago and its greater metropolitan area.

Following annual training and professional development, CSIC educators guide students through the invention process. Using CSIC activities, students will identify a problem in their own lives and use design thinking, engineering, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving to create an original invention.

Because of its interdisciplinary activities and the wide latitude for student choice, the CSIC curriculum engages all students, regardless of their previous exposure to STEM.


CSIC supports an educator’s mastery of the curriculum by providing free professional development opportunities, program-specific enrichment resources, and ongoing networking within the invention education professional community.

CSIC extends learning outside the classroom through its optional mentorship track that bring industry professionals into the classroom to guide students through the invention process. Strong community partnerships offer opportunities for students to engage in specialized workshops, field trips, and other direct services.

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CSIC elevates invention education through high-impact educational experiences. Students participating in the program have the opportunity to compete in a series of escalating public competitions at the local, regional, and national level.

CSIC students do Chicago proud as young ambassadors for the power of STEM education, garnering media attention and public speaking opportunities for even the youngest learners.

Beyond prizes, competition award categories connect student inventors to real-world resources. Some winners see their inventions get patented and prototyped, while others connect to industry leaders to take their ideas to the next step. All students hear feedback from invention judges who provide constructive comments and help them envision themselves as future problem-solvers.

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The 7 Steps of Invention

Invention Convention
U.S. Nationals

Invention Convention Worldwide convenes a global community of educators, business leaders, parents, and students. The coalition is powered by its global affiliates who share a vision of a world in which all learners have access to innovation, invention, and entrepreneurial learning to gain the confidence and skills to control their own destiny.

The Henry Ford leads this community and works to make STEM + Invention + Entrepreneurship (STEMIE) learning accessible to educators and students worldwide. As part of their leadership in invention education, The Henry Ford powers events like the Invention Convention U.S. Nationals competition, curriculum, and professional development.

The Chicago Student Invention Convention is proud to be the official affiliate for the city of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs: Cook, Dupage, Lake, McHenry, Kane, and Will counties.

Winners at CSIC can continue to compete at the national level through invitation-only entry to the Invention Convention U.S. Nationals competition, which showcases the winners from among thousands of young people who compete at the state and local levels.


As a program of Chicago Innovation, the Chicago Student Invention Convention boasts an interdisciplinary team of innovation experts.

Chicago Innovation Awards LLC operates a year-round series of activities aimed at celebrating innovators in the Chicago region. The Chicago Innovation Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit that provides educational events and programs to people interested in learning about innovation and entrepreneurship.