Education and Happiness: Reminiscing on a Saturday Morning

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A long time ago, at least a thousand years it seems, I taught an environmental science class for first and second year college students. Most of these students were undecided about their majors and their futures, but quite sure it would not be in a field of science.  Mathphobia was a common affliction, and avoidance was a common behavior.  The realm of mathematics was entered with a certain degree of stealth, kind of a sneak attack.  This course was one of the most popular science course for these students, at least partly because very little mathematics was required, and also because the subject matter was relevant to their lives.

Environmental science is considered an interdisciplinary field of study like earth science, astronomy, meteorology, and oceanography, among many others.  Introductory college courses such as these play an important role in the curriculum, because the big ideas of science and mathematics can be presented…

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