Beacon Lesson Plan Library

George Gorilla and Gallon Gorp

Sara Hubbard


George Gorilla and Gallon Gorp is an exciting hands-on lesson that enables elementary children to construct a gallon gorilla puzzle. In the process students learn measuring skills, make Gorilla Gorp, and enjoy their edible creation.


The student uses a wide variety of concrete objects to investigate measurement of length, weight, capacity, area, perimeter, and volume (for example, cubes, grid paper, string, squares).


-Pupil take-home note requesting donations (See -Preparation- section.)
-Five 8’ by 8’ squares of assorted colored construction paper per child
-A mixture of ingredients for trail mix or gorp that would fill up three gallon buckets
-Scissors, pencils or pens for each child
-A sample little bag of gorp titled “Secret Recipe Gorilla Gorp”
-Three empty gallon containers on a demonstration table in front of the class (The top of a milk jug can be cut off to give you a see through gallon container.)
-Four measurement tool sets (One set per group; Each set is composed of a pint, quart, and cup container. Each group may have additional containers to use that their members brought in from home, but these containers are not required.)
-One cup for each student for their own serving of gorp
-If not enough containers are available, take baggies, plastic buckets, boxes, or wash tubs and make a mark the side of the container showing the unit of measurement and the level needed to reach that specific measurement.


1. The week before the lesson is taught, explain to the class that you will need their help gathering materials for the lesson the following week. Ask the students to copy down a short note written on their daily agenda asking for a donation of an empty cup, pint, quart, or gallon container and one bag of gorp ingredients. (For example: miniature marshmallows, popcorn, pretzels, raisins, nuts or chocolate chips.) This procedure reminds the child to enlist the aid of their parents. As they search together for everyday containers, pupils become familiar with these measurement terms and build anticipation for the lesson.

2. Store the gorp ingredients and empty containers in a big collection box and label them with each student’s name. If supplies are coming in too slowly, encourage students and reward them with a few Gorilla Chips (chocolate chips) as pupils bring in their supplies.

3. Inventory the materials the students sent in against the materials list. Obtain any of these needed materials.

4. Mix a small handful of the ingredients and make a small cup of gorp. Place this in a cup and label it “Secret Recipe Gorilla Gorp.”


In this lesson, students will use a variety of concrete objects to investigate measurement.

1. Ask students if they have ever had Gorilla Gorp and what powers might they acquire from this body building food.

2. Take a small handful of Gorilla Gorp taken from a box or bag labeled “Secret Recipe Gorilla Gorp” and eat it in front of the class. Then boast about your increased brainpower and strength and demonstrate a gorilla gesture by lightly beating on your chest.

3. Ask students if they would like to make their own secret recipe. Explain to the class that they need to understand cups, pints, quarts, and gallons to accomplish this task.

4. Pass out the student’s own collection of empty containers and gorp ingredients. Divide the students into four groups and ask each group to get out their assorted collection of cups, pints, quarts, and gallons that they brought from home. The teacher asks pupils to describe to their partner their experiences looking for measurement containers around their house or grocery store. What size container did they bring in and what was stored in it before they emptied it?

5. Ask the students why it is important to have units of measure like cups, pints quarts and gallons. Explain that customers need to know exactly the amount that they are buying so units of measure are standardized into cups, pints, quarts and gallons. Therefore it is important to check our own measuring instruments. In the measurement system all cups equal exactly eight ounces. Ask the students if they think the cups they brought in holds exactly eight ounces. Using a measuring cup subdivided by ounces, allow one student from each one of the four groups in the class to come up to the front of the class and fill one of their group’s own cups with a gorp ingredient such as miniature marshmallows or chocolate chips. Check to make sure that each group has a cup that holds exactly eight ounces and can qualify as an official cup in the lesson. Explain that you are sure that the rest of the containers indeed hold either16 ounces, which is a pint, or 32 ounces, which is a quart because this measurement is listed on their labels.

6. Next, pass out five 6” by 6” construction paper squares to each student. Tell the students that the class will make Gorilla Gorp and build George the Gallon Gorilla at the same time. Explain to them that at the end of this lesson they will be required to take the gorilla apart and put him back together independently like a puzzle. They will receive a grade on this task. Therefore, it is important for them NOT to glue the parts together and to listen carefully.

7. First, each pupil needs to draw and cut out a large gorilla’s head from their first piece of paper and then they need to PLACE this head on top of the second square, which represents the gallon body.

8. Tell the children that now they are ready to make their gorp and build the rest of their gorilla. Explain that they are going to make a class gallon recipe of gorp. Ask the pupils to predict in their groups how many quarts it takes to fill up the empty gallon container sitting on the demonstration table in front of the classroom. Next, each group takes their one empty quart container and fills it with marshmallows, pretzels, chocolate chips or whatever special ingredients that its group brought in. Each group is then called to empty their quart into the class empty gallon container until the class discovers that it takes four quarts to fill up the first gallon with gorp.

9. Students are asked to take their third square and fold it over accordion or fan style giving them four long rectangles (2’ by 4”). Pupils cut out these rectangles and label them each with the word -quart-. Each strip becomes a leg or an arm and is laid down extending from the body of the gorilla.

10. Pupils next predict how many pints it takes to fill up the second empty gallon container on the demonstration table. Each group fills one pint with its own mixture of gorp and pours it into the group container. The group discovers that the container is only half full. Each group then fills up a second pint and pours it in the gallon container finally filling it to the top. Ask the children how many pints were needed to fill up the gallon container. Pupils take their fourth piece of paper and fold it in half three times making eight sections and labeling each one a -pint-. They cut them up placing two pints side by side for each hand and foot.

11. Ask pupils to predict in their groups how many cups are needed to fill up the third gallon container. Then have students fill up their cup and pour it in the empty gallon container on the demonstration table. Ask the students if they think their prediction is correct. How many more cups will it take? Have the students continue to fill up the container until they discover that it requires16 cups to fill it.

12. Ask the students to take their last square of paper and fold it into 16 sections. If needed, demonstrate folding the paper in half four different times giving the pupils their 16 blank squares. Pupils then cut and label each square with the word -cup-. They place four of these cups on the end of each hand or foot making their “gorilla fingers and toes”.

13. Finally, review with the students the number of cups, pints, and quarts needed to make their gorilla. Have the students take their gorilla puzzle apart and practice putting it back together independently. After their puzzle is put together correctly and checked by either the teacher or a capable peer, they receive a cup of gorilla gorp.


At the end of the lesson, the teacher will observe pupils independently assemble a model of Gallon Gorilla in which the different body parts equal a gallon.

Criteria: The student will assemble at least 24 out of the 30 body parts correctly to pass this objective. Body parts consist of rectangles labled cups, pints, quarts, and a gallon. Children unable to master this task will be aided by the teacher or capable peers.


A good background preparation for students to understand the overall picture for measuring tools is the Student Web Lesson. See Weblinks.

Web Links

Web supplement for George Gorilla and Gallon Gorp
Measuring Tools

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