K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

Important Announcement about Online Courses and LEARN NC.

Important Message about LEARN NC

LEARN NC is evaluating its role in the current online education environment as it relates directly to the mission of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education (UNC-CH SOE). We plan to look at our ability to facilitate the transmission of the best research coming out of UNC-CH SOE and other campus partners to support classroom teachers across North Carolina. We will begin by evaluating our existing faculty and student involvement with various NC public schools to determine what might be useful to share with you.

Don’t worry! The lesson plans, articles, and textbooks you use and love aren’t going away. They are simply being moved into the new LEARN NC Digital Archive. While we are moving away from a focus on publishing, we know it’s important that educators have access to these kinds of resources. These resources will be preserved on our website for the foreseeable future. That said, we’re directing our resources into our newest efforts, so we won’t be adding to the archive or updating its contents. This means that as the North Carolina Standard Course of Study changes in the future, we won’t be re-aligning resources. Our full-text and tag searches should make it possible for you to find exactly what you need, regardless of standards alignment.

Learn more

Related pages

  • Measurement centers: During a center-based activity groups of students will rotate around the classroom practicing non-standard unit of measurement concepts. In addition, they will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with measuring with rulers and will participate in a lesson about capacity.
  • Milk it for all it's worth: Students will cooperatively discover the equivalent measures of capacity. In addition, students will be given a unit price of milk and will be asked to calculate the price of other units of capacity based on the price given. They will then use this information to determine the most economical buy.
  • Time - Light and shadow (pre-visit): Students examine the interplay of the earth and the sun by studying shadows. Students construct a sun clock and record shadows several times during a school day in order to use the earth and the sun to measure time.

Related topics


Please read our disclaimer for lesson plans.


The text of this page is copyright ©2008. See terms of use. Images and other media may be licensed separately; see captions for more information and read the fine print.

Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • discover the amounts that are equivalent to 1 pint, 1 cup, 1 quart, and 1 gallon through a simple hands-on activity.
  • draw and use the gallon man after a short amount of guided practice.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

90 minutes


  • Access to water
  • 3 one gallon containers
  • 4 one quart containers
  • 8 one pint containers
  • 16 one cup containers
  • Chalk, Board, Overhead etc…
  • Pencil/Paper


  • Students should brainstorm and list all of the standard units of liquid measure.
  • After students have listed cups, pints, quarts, and gallons they should list them in order from least to greatest if they can.
  • Estimate how many cups in a pint, pints in a quart, quarts in a gallon etc.
  • Read supplemental resources / Information for teachers ahead of time.


  1. The class should be divided into three groups. One group should have the 16 cups, one group should have the 8 pints, one group should have the 4 quarts.
  2. After they have their particular measuring unit, you should give each group a one gallon container filled with water.
  3. Allow the students to pour the water from the gallon into their particular measuring unit. As the students discover the different amounts, have the students record their findings.
  4. Allow students to see how many cups are in a pint, pints are in a quart, quarts are in a gallon.
  5. After they have “discovered” the correct equivalent measures, show them the Gallon Man organizer.


Students should be able to draw the gallon man.

Students should be able to make simple conversions with ease.

Use a worksheet with conversions from cups to gallons etc. (The students will be surprised at how easy the Gallon Man makes these conversions.)

Supplemental information

The “Gallon Man” is a large capital G. You draw four capital Q’s inside the “G”. You draw two capital P’s inside the of each Q. You place two lower case c’s inside each capital P.

After you have drawn your “gallon man”, you can simply look at it and make conversions easily.


This was a great idea that a good friend and colleague shared with me. It has helped my students tremendously. I hope that it will be beneficial to you as well.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • Mathematics (2010)
      • Grade 3

        • Measurement & Data
          • 3.MD.2Measure and estimate liquid volumes and masses of objects using standard units of grams (g), kilograms (kg), and liters (l).1 Add, subtract, multiply, or divide to solve one-step word problems involving masses or volumes that are given in the same units,...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Mathematics (2004)

Grade 3

  • Goal 2: Measurement - The learner will recognize and use standard units of metric and customary measurement.
    • Objective 2.02: Estimate and measure using appropriate units.
      • Capacity (cups, pints, quarts, gallons, liters).
      • Length (miles, kilometers).
      • Mass (ounces, pounds, grams, kilograms).
      • Temperature (Fahrenheit, Celsius).