Teaching a Frog Calculus

Author : Matthieu C. R. Cartron

It was after several hours, and, several brief outbursts, that Henry came to a most significant conclusion: A frog simply cannot learn calculus.

Henry was a very smart nine-year-old. So smart, in fact, that he was already taking college courses. Henry was a well-rounded student, but of all his unusual abilities, his most remarkable aptitude was in the subject of mathematics. Numbers, as he had once told his mother, just simply made sense to him.

But math, as Henry soon found out, was not a favorite subject of most creatures. Including frogs.

There was a small creek near Henry’s house where they would congregate and cavort at the edge of the water, and, with some difficulty, Henry had managed to capture one with a plastic container.

Henry loved learning, and was always eager to impart his own knowledge onto others. His peers at the elementary school were bored by his interests and annoyed by his attempts to enlighten them. But, would frogs, which people might label as incognizant and stupid, be more willing to learn? Henry had decided to give it a shot.

He had dragged an easel out into the backyard and had placed the container with the frog only a few feet in front of it. With a pen and a stick broken off from a nearby tree, Henry had begun his introduction and instruction of derivatives—using the paper on the easel as a makeshift drawing board. But the frog, lethargic from his failed attempts to jump from the sealed plastic prison, looked the other way. Henry would notice and would reprimand the inattentive frog for his behavior, but it was to no avail. Even manually turning the container did little to spark the interest of the indifferent amphibian.

But Henry had an idea. Perhaps this particular frog would be inspired to learn if there were motivated peers around him. Henry needed role models, and to find them, he headed back to the creek where after an hour, he had managed to collect five more frogs.

When Henry’s mother saw the six containers and the easel in the backyard, she marched out the back door to the enigmatic scene.

“Henry, what is the meaning of all of this?” she exclaimed.

After Henry relayed his thought process to her, she explained to her son that frogs, and just about every other creature, do not have the mental capacity to understand most of what humans can. It made sense to Henry, and it was what his conscience had surreptitiously concluded after the disappointing results of the first frog.

But what Henry said next to his mother caught her off guard.

“If it is impossible for frogs to understand what we can, then is it possible that we might not understand some things that others can?”

“Well, I . . . I suppose Henry.”

Henry’s mother was unsure if this was in fact true, but Henry was right. From the fifth dimension, two undefinable beings, known as Aeruleels, had perceived Henry’s entire day, and were especially amused by what his mother had said.

“What was it she said? Oh yes, ‘what is the meaning of all of this?’”

The two Aeruleels crowed with laughter.

“It comes up again and again, the most important question to the human race,” one of the Aeruleels said.

“Well,” the other Aeruleel said. “We have tried many times to give them the answer, but as we have learned. . .”
The two Aeruleels smiled and then spoke simultaneously.

“Humans simply do not have the mental capacity to understand.”


  1. xdhz8

    Humor with a message. Who could hop for anything more!

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