This lesson is designed for two 90 minute block classes. The purpose of the lesson is to investigate the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and to help students connect with this terrible event. A variety of methods can be used for differing learning levels and styles.
The lesson begins with a simulation of working in a textile factory to make shirts. Students work on teams to create paper version of the shirts the women made. A link is provided to the sounds of a sewing machine so that students experience the sounds of the factory as well. Through this activity, students will experience the fast pace of the work, the frustrations of workers, and the fire hazards created as scraps are created. Workers will also understand how when focused on this task, they would not have known how or when a fire started.
The next activity is the investigation. The lesson is introduced with an overview video (link provided). Then, using the Cornell University website, students will investigate the fire and create a report of what happened. A variety of methods is included to create the report and to perform interviews if students struggle with large reading assignments.