S.T.E.M.=Good 4 U

Dear Well & Wise,

You’ve tried to sell us on the health benefits of gardening and poetry and even love stories, but what’s with all the math and science classes in your Friday’s events listings?

Sincerely,

Skeptical Reader

Dear SR (who is in no way imaginary),

One lesson many of us have learned from working on the blog is that there are a surprising number of things that can benefit your health if done right (the flipside, of course, being that even things that are supposed to be healthy, like exercise and sunshine, can hurt you if done wrong). But it is almost as if humans, at our basic core, are meant to engage in activities that are ultimately beneficial: little slakes thirst better than water; as kids we like to run and be active; most people do crave companionship and time spent in nature, etc.

That’s not to say many people are chomping at the bit to solve quadratic equations or bust out some quantum physics theories. Although, we have seen an increase in the interest in S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), especially since the White House’s call to Educate to Innovate, through everything from Howard County Public School System’s increased focus on it to events such as the STEMtech Conference. And, of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention HiTech, HCLS’ STEM Digital Media Lab for teens and classes.

So yes, this new focus on S.T.E.M. is good for us as a nation, but what about as individuals. Well, we know that doctors and nurses depend very strongly on math and science for their jobs, which benefits us, and that innovations in S.T.E.M. have lead to everything from new medicines, to ergonomically designed tools and furniture, to robots that can do some of our more dangerous jobs for us, and many more life-saving and life-enhancing contributions. BUT that’s not all. There is evidence of  links between good mental health and academic excellence (of which math and science play an important part). And many feel that studying math and science can improve critical/analytical-thinking skills and can also improve confidence, literacy, and overall levels of achievement. So S.T.E.M. studies are good for us; that’s our story, and we’re sticking with it.

Sincerely,

Well & Wise

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