1. Remind students that understanding both sides of an argument, even if they strongly disagree with one side, is critical to the success of any debate, court case, or argument.
2. For this lesson, students are members of the defense team for Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. It is their task to thoroughly understand not only the events of the fatal fire at the factory but also the rocky road of labor relations in the preceding two years (specifically with regard to women workers), demonstrate an awareness of the points the prosecuting attorneys may address at the trial, and recommend a defense strategy for Blanck and Harris.
3. They should also be able to point to the legacy of this case not only in the development of the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union but also in terms of laws regarding occupational safety.
4. Divide the class into 3 groups after all students are generally familiar with the events of the fire, either through teacher presentation or individual research. Each of the 3 groups will address one of the following topics:
- Labor relations and women workers from 1909-1911;
- Points the prosecutors and the defense will address in their cases (write out the arguments and prepare to present this graphically);
- Legacy of the fire, both in union history and safety laws and regulations at city, state, and federal levels.