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George’s Marvellous Medicine KS1 – Measuring & capacity

What's included?

Two-page lesson plan PDF

Key Stage



Years 1-2


Explore measuring and capacity with this George’s Marvellous Medicine KS1 maths lesson plan from Jonathan Lear…

Measures, and in particular capacity, is one of those areas of maths that we tend to put off until next half term, and then the next half term after that, and so on until we strike it lucky with a naive teaching practice student who can’t wait to get the water out.

At best it can be a little bit messy; at worst, a complete flood. If we’re brave, however, giving children the experience of practically working with measures can make a huge difference to their levels of understanding in this area of maths.

Learning objective

Explore measurements of capacity using standard metric units

What is George’s Marvellous Medicine about?

The context for this lesson is George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl. In the story, the main character, George, lives on a farm with his mother, father and grandmother.

In an attempt to cure his grandmother’s incessant grumpiness, he brews a very special medicine using all manner of inappropriate and harmful products from around the house.

When ready, George gives his grandmother a spoonful of the medicine, only to see her grow rapidly to the size of
a house. He then tests the medicine on the farm animals, and it has exactly the same effect.

Upon seeing this, George’s father declares that this medicine must be made and sold to other farms in order to produce giant animals for giant food, thus ending world hunger.

Unfortunately, George cannot remember the exact mixture and, in one unsuccessful attempt, creates a medicine that shrinks rather than enlarges its recipients.

Grandma, being grumpy and horrible, snatches the medicine from George, drinks it all, and promptly shrinks out of existence. George and his parents, whilst initially upset, decide they are probably better off without her and we reach
our happy(ish) ending!

Jonathan Lear is a Teaching Award winner and AST at St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School, Sheffield. Browse more Roald Dahl primary resources.

George's Marvellous Medicine KS1 lesson plan
George’s Marvellous Medicine KS1 – Measuring & capacity

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