Teaching measurement is never an easy task. Some students have difficulty grasping conversion and equivalency concepts. But have no fear. When teaching liquid capacity, there is a superhero to help make these lessons interesting and enjoyable for students. Mr. Gallon has taught students about cups, pints, quarts, and gallons for years.
When introducing Mr. Gallon, you can begin by giving students an image or template. Some teacher supply companies have bulletin board sets as well. Or you can have students make a Mr. Gallon from construction paper, sentence strips, toilet paper, and paper towel cardboard rolls.
Once they have made a representation of Mr. Gallon, you can begin using the information in a variety of activities and lessons that incorporate multiple intelligences and differentiated instruction. Every student can do each activity, or choose one assignment that they can focus on.
Here are a few of my favorites. You can have students write a Mr. Gallon story that is a good way to help linguistic and verbal learners see the connection between the standard units of measure. Some students, however, find that coming up with their own story ideas is a bit difficult. You can give students a few story ideas, such as Mr. Gallon helping to solve problems, or finding equivalents.
You could also have students create a song or rap hit and let them showcase their musical talent. The song or rap can be to the tune of another song, or they can make up their own. In the past, some of my students have made a recording on a CD with their entire family participating in the song. If they don't record their musical work, you could allow students to perform in front of the class. If you have older students, you may want to preview the lyrics prior to a classroom performance.
Another activity is to have student identify how many equivalents they can find using a Mr. Gallon visual. It can be used as a race to see who completes the activity first. Students can make flashcards afterwards, or this activity can be used as a small group intervention activity for students having difficulty understanding equivalents and conversions.
This next lesson idea was taken from a wonderful teacher I used to work with. You can prepare word problems or conversions on a sheet of sentence strip or character notepad paper. Make sure to leave space between the problem and the answer so you can cut the paper in two pieces with various different zigzag or wavy patters. Students can work with partners to solve a problem, find the answer, and bring you both pieces so that you can match and check their answers. You can have students record answers on an answer sheet, or have sticker cards to give them a sticker for each correct answer. It would be a good idea to give students a time limit to complete each problem. If you have students work for the first five minutes matching the pieces, you can then have students create a matching game of their own to play with their partners, or to take home.
And last, but not least you can have your students make a 3-D figure of Mr. Gallon or a Mr. Gallon costume. I would leave the choice of materials up to students, and encourage family participation on this product. Once students finish, you could have a parade of costumes for the grade level at lunch time. Sculptures and figures could also be displayed in the media center and main office.
Below you will find some links to other Mr. Gallon lessons and resources.
Mr. Gallon Lesson Plans:
This is an entire unit on metric and customary measurement. It uses Mr. Gallon to delve into equivalencies.
This lesson is part of a website that has tons of material. In this lesson you will find Mr. Gallon templates and the lyrics to the Mr. Gallon song.
In this lesson students learn how to convert units of measurement. They also make a yummy drink in the process.