Friday, March 13, 2015

Labor and Law: The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

Since this lesson bridges the unfavorable conditions of the Gilded Age with the Progressive Era, a closer look at the evidence of law and safety procedures we have in our school was a good place to start.


Find artifacts in the school that relate to exiting safely in the event that a fire broke out in one of the second-floor hallways.

When you get back to the classroom, meet in groups based on your artifact and make sure you have one device for every three group members.

Our goal is to add historical context to the legal reasons why we have particular procedures for emergency exiting. This information will be used as a component to evacuation training. 


Use your device or one of the classroom devices to look up a connection between the artifact you found and an event that impacted the law(s) that stipulate use of the artifact. Write the artifact and the event/legal connection on a piece of paper and tack (or tape it to the wall.

Inquiry: Image Analysis 

Write questions that would need to guide your research if you needed to find out what happened.

Guided reading

Read the the Department of Labor's explanation of the Triangle Shirtwaiste Fire. Make notes about the safety issues and what the government has done to ensure that disasters like it don't happen again.

The Product: Historical Context Placard

Make a placard that explains what the safety artifact is and how it came to be required by law. We will print, laminate, and post them on the History Hallway.


#HistoryIn30 reflection
Group response to lesson blog post.

A Remind message will help students connect disasters like this one with other labor-related issues that were alleviated through legal codes. They can stamp check if they get it or ? if they don't. If three or more students stamp ?, they can receive a message for support without messaging everyone, again. 


  1. The attached document about the Triangle Shirtwaiste Fire was very lengthy and did not have pertinent information to the purpose of the blog.

    1. Daniel, I'm not sure you understood the reflection assignment. The purpose of the blog has nothing to do with the lesson. You did the lesson. What did you learn? What would you change to make it better?

  2. Plus: Helped add historical context to everyday items
    Delta: Felt very disconnected and irrelevant to the lesson plan. This could be changed by giving more background prior on how these things are a product of successful pushes from labor unions for public safety and health.

  3. The lesson was was enjoyable and engaging, prompting the students to become more invested in their learning. However, the students were unsure how the lesson directly related to the learning goal. Despite this, the lesson was effective in communicating new information relating to the history of safety measures.

  4. plus: the overall activity is helpful and interactive and will actually help with learning the material rather than memorizing and then forgetting it.

  5. plus: the activity was helpful in the knowing of why some of our now essential objects, fire alarms, exit signs, etc, where inspired by terrible events.
    delta: the median used to learn was not appreciated