The Illinois Student Invention Convention is the culmination of students creating an invention that addresses a problem of their choosing. The convention takes place in two parts:

Virtual Competition

After submitting their registration materials, student finalists meet in online judging circles with judges and other students to answer questions about their projects and share feedback. The top scoring projects are invited to be celebrated at the in-person student winner showcase and awards.

Student Winner Showcase & Awards

Event that takes place in Chicago to educate, connect, and celebrate the state’s top student inventors. Festivities include:

  • Hands-on educational workshop offerings for students, teachers, and family members 
  • Invention Showcase
  • Awards Ceremony


In order to compete, students must have participated in a registered program site and received an invitation to compete by their site leader. These student finalists represent their site at the virtual judging competition.

Student finalists will receive a direct link to our online registration page that they must complete with their site leader, parent, or guardian. To complete registration, student finalists will need to upload the following:



Pitch Video


Team / Individuals
  • Only one entry is allowed per person or team
  • Students can compete in groups of up to 4
  • When teams have more than one grade level represented, their project will be judged in the grade level category of its oldest member. For example, if a team was made up of two fourth grade students and one fifth grade student, the team’s project would be entered into the fifth grade category.
  • Can be a working or non-working prototype
  • May be built from any type of material which is not expressly prohibited or potentially dangerous.
  • For the virtual competition, you will take pictures of your prototype. If you are selected as a winner, you will display your prototype at the state event.
Pitch Video
  • Must be unedited, continuous video (up to 6 minutes long) where student demonstrates how their prototype works and communicates significant aspects of their invention process
  • For more guidance on creating a pitch video, see our guidelines here
Tri Fold Displays
  • Not required for the virtual competition or winner showcase
  • Required for projects advancing to US Nationals
Prohibited Materials
  • Weapons
  • Explosives
  • Dangerous Chemicals
  • If you are not sure, please ask
Invention Logbook
  • While templates are available for use, student inventors can create their own so long as their is evidence from each stage of the invention process
  • Student projects are evaluated on their evidence of the invention process, their invention impact, and their communication of their journey. See the full rubric here
Online Registration
  • Each project submitted must be registered by the stated deadline
  • See this year’s timeline
  • Virtual Judging Competition – No registration Fee
  • Winner Showcase & Awards Ceremony – takes place in Chicago; winning students will have the opportunity to apply for a limited amount of stipends to offset the cost of travel
  • US Nationals – fees set by Invention Convention Worldwide; Registration per student inventor is ~$335 and additional attendees are around ~$360 per person. These fees include most meals and museum passes but do not include lodging which is ~$150/night. Students who qualify for national will to apply for a limited amount of scholarships to offset these costs
  • We offer a rotation of prizes including museum passes, summer camp scholarships, and educational toys
  • Specialty awards have their own experience or prize associated with them
Awards Categories
  • We award the top 3 scoring projects in each grade level (K-2, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th)
  • Patent Awards – our partners at Thompson Coburn will file a non-provisional design or utility US patent application for selected winners free of charge
  • Molex Technology and Transformation Award
  • Prototype Award – students will get a chance to develop their invention into a fully functional professional prototype