Cinnaminson’s Invention Convention to take place March 28

Registration for 37th annual event limited due to hiatus

The limits of the virtual classroom have prevented events that bring people physically together, but the 37th Annual Invention Connection will return in person on March 28.

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Invention Convention Worldwide is an education program run through The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan. Communities like Cinnaminson have held their own conventions around the country.

“The Invention Convention was established to provide students with the opportunity to explore their wildest ideas,” said Lauren Coker, a Cinnaminson High School Tech/Engineering teacher.   “The Invention Convention at its very core is a way to give students the creative confidence to tackle real-world problems.”

Coker has been involved with Cinnaminson’s Invention Convention since 2018, when she was first hired at the school, and her involvement has grown exponentially. The event is one of the biggest on the district academic calendar, and for Coker, it is a massive annual undertaking, albeit one she enjoys. Dozens of students participate in the event each year.

“I am continually amazed by our students’ efforts in brainstorming and exploring a range of possibilities,” Coker noted. “Our students, children in general, are amazing at using divergent thinking to explore different approaches to solving problems.”

As the only Technology and Engineering education teacher in the district, Coker’s convention work is a one-woman operation of set-up and planning, and COVID hasn’t helped given how it impacted so many events.

While annual numbers for the convention are usually high – with up to 80 students having participated before – just 30 have signed up to participate this year. 

“A lot of students and parents were overwhelmed, and taking on another obligation was hard for a lot of families,” Coker explained. “It’s my hope that in the future, teachers will adopt the Invention/Design process and use it with their students, so that students are familiar with these steps.” 

That hope, from Coker’s perspective, is that “by using common language and promoting these types of mindsets and methods in the classroom,” students will be better prepared down the road.

The 37th Annual Cinnaminson Invention Convention will take place early in the day on Monday, March 28, at Cinnaminson High School, with an awards ceremony open to the public following from 7 to 8:30 p.m.


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