This lesson is designed to have students analyze primary sources to create a theory as to who is to blame for the fire. (The theories the students are presented with are, "The government is to blame" and "The factory owners are to blame.") Students will need a background knowledge on the fire and the progressive initiatives of the time.
This lesson is a little different than other Historical Investigations. For this lesson, you should break the class in half. One half will be Group #1, and begin by looking at Sources A, B, and C. The other half will be Group #2, and begin by looking at Sources D, E, F, and G. The sources should guide each group of students toward a different theory.
Once they have created their theory, they should find a partner from the opposite group and compare the sources they were given and their analysis. (With my students I turned this into a contest. I told my students that it was their job to convince their partner of their theory. My students actually started arguing with each other and pointing to the sources in order to "win the contest." It was awesome.)
Finally, they reflect on the differences in their opinions once they were presented with new information.