Please don’t be intimidated by the calculations below! Occupy Math needs them to make a point — part of which is that lines two through six are completely not needed. This post was written directly after grading a midterm in a first-year university calculus class. What that grading taught Occupy Math is that the students have been deceived about the very nature of math!

One of the questions on the midterm was “Find a sixth degree polynomial with exactly two roots”. Occupy Math thought that this would be a freebie question. There are many correct answers, one of which is the *first line* of the calculations above. About 20 of the 100+ students at the exam took this correct answer and drove it right off a cliff by trying to *multiply it out*. Occupy Math has multiplied it out to show how much work that is! Here’s the punch line: not *one* of the students got the arithmetic correct. As far as Occupy Math can tell, they have been indoctrinated to believe they have not answered a question until they have done a good deal of calculation? They feel that math is not math without the busywork!