About CSIC


Create an invention to solve a problem in your life!


The Chicago Student Invention Convention is a program that typically runs for 10 weeks and engages K-8th grade students in an invention curriculum.


The program culminates in a celebration of student innovation, and a prototype competition where finalists from the program compete to win top prizes, held at the


Winners of the Chicago Student Invention Convention have the opportunity to compete at the U.S. Nationals competition at

Register For the Free Program

For more information, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions
To join the program, educators can Register for an account

General Requirements

Inventor Logbook

The Logbook is a necessary step to document each participant’s creative process and is weighed heavily in the judges’ evaluation process. Students participating as part of a team may complete one Team Logbook.


The prototype does not have to function, but it must have been researched or illustrated how the invention would work if the model were operational. Prototypes must fit on a table top, and cannot be larger than 2 feet by 3 feet in size. Recommended maximum price for prototype materials is $60, though students are encouraged to use free and recycled materials whenever possible. Students participating as part of team may complete one model.


Students should be prepared to give a presentation to the judges and briefly explain the problem, the solution ideas, and how the final invention works. All team members must be present and participate in the presentation. A presentation board, or video, is suggested to complement the presentation.


The Chicago Student Invention Convention values both process and product, which means that the documentation of the invention process, in all of its failures and messiness, is just as important to the judges as is the final prototype. These are typical categories for scoring:

Winning At CSIC

Grade-Level Awards

Each grade is awarded 3rd, 2nd and 1st place. 

Industry Awards

For more information on sponsoring an industry award category, visit the Sponsors page and get in touch with our staff.

Seasonal Awards

These rotating awards categories reflect students’ interests. Examples include the Repurposed Materials Award, the Best Pandemic Invention Award, etc.

Specialty Awards



The winner receives non-provisional patenting services from Thompson Coburn LLP.


The winner receives mentoring sessions from a professional within the field/scope of the problem.


The winner receives ideation and prototyping sessions and services at mHUB Chicago.

After school

This project is completed in an after school or out-of-school time setting. 

Examples of Past Prizes

Classes at:

  • Codeverse
  • BitSpace
  • Digital Adventures

Passes to:

  • Museum of Science and Industry
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Adler Planetarium
  • Chicago History Museum

Scholarship to attend Camp Invention