Math Teacher Tells NEIA Students a Story of Engineering

A former Senior Materials Applications Engineer at General Electric (GE), Chuck started at NEIA in fall of 2023 as a math teacher.

Chuck Claus, one of our dedicated Math teachers, gave a fascinating talk to our students, pulling from his 20 years of real-world experience. Formerly a Senior Materials Applications Engineer at General Electric (GE), Chuck started by telling the students that this presentation was “an engineering story.” He then walked through an actual engineering problem he encountered at GE: military aircraft engines failing due to an unexpected environmental challenge. The talk was comprehensive, encompassing everything from scientific elements, to basic engineering principles, to geopolitical contexts. He gave students a genuine glimpse inside of an engine: how engineers ensure safety, speed, and reliability.

At the end of the presentation, after revealing their process and their solution, Chuck revealed a twist. This wasn’t an engineering story; this was actually a “competencies story,” referring back to NEIA’s innovative and helpful assessment system, based on skills rather than grades. NEIA’s core competencies eerily mirrored the skills Chuck used on this project.

“You’re lucky to be at a school that lets you graduate with these skills,” Chuck told the students. “The rest of us,” he said, pointing to his fellow NEIA staff members, “had to figure it out for ourselves. That’s the value of being here at NEIA.”


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Yesterday, our mini inventors went to the Boston Museum of Science to see real life inventions and creations. They dove into design processes to ultimately guide them in their creation of a product which they will be presenting tomorrow!

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This week our mini inventors will be focusing on coding and prototyping. Yesterday, students prototyped a lamp, and today, they did the same with a sound machine. Students then used human-centered design to understand how to improve the product for the user by interviewing classmates and staff. Friday, students will present to their classmates, staff, and families their chosen projects starting from their beginning sketches to their prototype to the final product.

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