Who Is Eligible To Participate In ISIC?
  • Educational sites that work with grades K-8 students in Illinois.
  • In-school classrooms (public, private, magnet, charter)
  • After school clubs
  • Out-of-school time sites (libraries, youth groups, museums, for-profit institutions)
Who Is Not Eligible To Participate In ISIC?
  • Sites that works with grades 9-12+ students
  • Sites outside of Illinois
  • Independent inventors unaffiliated with an ISIC site
  • Individual students who are working with a parent or in a homeschool setting unaffiliated with an ISIC site
I Am A Parent Of An Elementary/middle Grades Child; Can My Child Participate In The Program?
  • Students must participate through an approved ISIC site with a trained educator.
    The site can be a school, library, or youth center.
  • Students cannot participate in ISIC as individual/independent inventors. Students can still participate in an Independent Inventor’s program run by Invention Convention Worldwide. Learn more here.
  • See other options on our Parents & Students page
What Do I Receive For Being In This Program?
  • Free training in the NGSS-aligned curriculum, with access to the lesson plans, activities, rubrics, worksheets etc.
  • Ongoing professional development opportunities
  • One-on-one on-demand staff support
  • Option to pair with an industry professional mentor to provide feedback on student projects
  • Media exposure: student finalists have been featured on ABC, Fox, NBC, The New Yorker, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and WBBM Newsradio
  • Public celebration of invention at escalating events: the annual Illinois Student Invention Convention, Invention Convention U.S. Nationals competition, and Invention Convention Globals
How Much Does It Cost?
  • The program is free for all participating schools and students, thanks to our generous sponsors. Site registration and curriculum training is required.
  • We recognize there are some travel costs associated with traveling to the Student Winner Showcase & Awards in Chicago each year. Travel stipend details will be provided at the time of invite.
  • ISIC does not run the US National Competition, but there are costs associated with competing at this level. In 2023, the cost to register was as follows:
    • $335 for a student inventor, $360 for attendees ages 5 and older, and no cost for attendees ages 4 and under. This cost includes all meals during the three day event, transportation to and from event hotels and the Henry Ford, event activities, and free admission to the Henry Ford Museum of American INnovation, Greenfield Village and the Giant Screen Experience.
    • While lodging is not included in this registration fee, blocks of rooms at discounted rates (~$159 plus tax and fees) are reserved at event hotels nearby.
  • To offset these costs, we are able to provide a few full scholarships each year. Details for how to apply are included in a student’s US Nationals invitation.
What Do I Need To Run The Program?
  • Once trained, the curriculum, activities, and partner resources are available for educators to use with their students
  • Educators will receive a materials list for optional materials needed to run activities; many will utilize on-hand materials already purchased for classrooms
  • Students are encouraged to use recycled materials and other low-cost materials to build their prototypes
What Is The Timeline?
  • July-October: Educator Recruitment and Training
  • November-February: Curriculum Implementation with K-8 students at your site
  • March: Student finalists from individual sites submit project materials & attend Illinois Student Invention Convention virtual competition
  • April: Illinois Student Invention Convention’s Winner Showcase & Awards in Chicago, IL
  • June: U.S. Nationals Invention Convention in Dearborn, MI
How Do Sites 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 two-week accelerated club, etc.)
  • After being trained in our invention education curriculum, educators are welcome to use the curriculum in whatever way works best for them. Only educators can know their own staffing, budgets, interests, and students’ needs.
  • Each site may host a local, school-wide, or class-wide competition/open house to recognize all of the participating students. This local competition is optional. A set number of finalists from each school (whether chosen through a competition or hand-selected by the educator) will then move on to compete at Illinois Student Invention Convention virtual competition.
How Long Is 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.
  • This program has been effectively implemented as:
    • 10-week curriculum (most typical)
    • One month of invention
    • One or two weeks of invention
    • Invention Club that meets every week/weekend
When Does The Program Start?
  • The program recruits educators from July through October. Once trained, an educator is welcome to begin implementing the program whenever they wish.
  • However, the typical implementation start date is in November.
  • Implementation typically occurs between November through February.
  • The convention is typically held at the end of March.
How Many Students From My Class Can Compete At ISIC?
  • 10%-30% of participating students from each site will be able to compete at the Illinois Student Invention Convention virtual competition (Note: Sites must submit their total number of participating students & projects to ISIC when requested. Finalist allotments will be distributed at that time.)
  • Each site is welcome to hold a local, school-wide, or class-wide Invention Convention competition/open house to recognize all of the participating students and to select their student finalists. This local competition is optional, and educators can determine how they will select who advances.
My School Already Has An Invention Club Or Program. Can We Participate In ISIC?
  • Yes! Simply register for an account, sign-up for one of our training sessions (offered in-person and online) and learn how your school can get involved.
How Is This Program Different From Other Stem Programs?
  • Each student determines the problem they solve based on their own interests and life experiences, cultivating student buy-in and engagement from the start.
  • The students create an original solution in the form of a real-world, practical invention of their own design
  • Students showcase their work to authentic audiences ranging from classroom mentors to a series of escalating public events and competitions.
  • If you are running a program like NFTE, Science Fair, Robotics Club or other curriculum, your program can fit into the ISIC program. We provide a practical application and audience for your students’ ideas.
  • If you’re building a robot already, why not think about how that robot can improve someone’s life and connect the robotics skills to ideas from your own problem-solving and interests?
How Can My Organization Get Involved As A Partner?
  • The generous help of our sponsors and partners sustains and enriches our program. Contact Us to start the conversation!
  • Sponsors support the program financially, and help us keep this program free of cost to participants. For more information about getting involved, refer to the Sponsors & Partners page
  • Community partners can provide opportunities for our students and teachers to help further our mission. For more information visit the Current Program