Free Resources for Learning About the Great Chicago Fire

October 12, 2020

Jeannette Tuionetoa

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When studying about fire safety, fire, and firefighting in your homeschool, it is also a great time to teach your kids about the Great Chicago Fire. These free resources for learning about the Great Chicago Fire can help.

Free Resources for Learning About the Great Chicago Fire

No one is exactly sure why this devastating fire started. This enormous fire in U.S. history started on October 8, 1871, in Chicago, Illinois, and burned for two days until October 10, 1871. It finally ended because of the rain that came to this day.

Once firefighters got to the fire, it was little they could do.

It began as nine completely separate fires that ended up destroying 3.3 square miles and $192 million in property damages. About 100,000 people were left homeless and three hundred people died.

It is rumored and is a legend that the fire started from… a cow. It is said that a cow knocked over a lantern in Catherine O’Leary’s barn on De Koven Street.

That isn’t the only story about how the fire started. Some say it started with some gamblers in the barn, maybe someone stealing milk from the barn, or even a meteor shower.

This is a hard fact that brings a lot of concern because there was a large fire the night before, firefighters were too tired to quickly put out the fires. They even were said to have been sent to the wrong home originally.

How grievingly sad is that?

There are some other interesting facts your kids will learn about the Great Chicago Fire, like the location being home to the Chicago Fire Academy now.

Thankfully, since this horrific fire, there have been significant innovations and improvements to prevent and deal with fires.

In this time period, the homes were mostly made of wood. Today, fireproof homes have since been created and are in line with the national fire code.

Explore these free resources for learning about the Great Chicago Fire:

FREE Historic Fires Notebooking Research Journal

Historic Fires Notebooking Research Journal Free Printable Notebook text with background image of a big forest fire

The Great Chicago Fire and Our Latest FREE State Research Guide – Illinois! |

FREE Timeline Worksheet: October 8, 1871, Peshtigo Fire | Write Bonnie Rose

Bring History to Life... October 8, 1871 ...One Day at a Time text with image of a map

The Great Chicago Fire: FREE Upper Elementary Resources | Laura Candler’s Teaching Resources

Weather History: The Great Chicago Fire 1871 (Video) | HappyMario64

The Chicago Fire of 1871 and the ‘Great Rebuilding’ | National Geographic

Lessons from History: The Chicago Fire of 1871 (Video) | WeAreTeachers

The Great Chicago Fire FREE | The Social Studies Place

Did Mrs. O’Learys Cow Really Cause The Great Chicago Fire? Lesson | Education World

The Great Chicago Fire Facts & FREE Worksheets | kidskonnect

I Survived the Great Chicago Fire, 1871 Teaching Ideas | Book Units Teacher

US History The Great Chicago Fire and FREE quiz | Ducksters

Great Chicago Fire facts for kids | Kid.Kiddle

Grab these general fire and firefighting resources and activities to go alongside your lessons:

FREE Fire Firefighting Vocabulary Copywork

FREE Fire & Firefighting Vocabulary Copywork

Fire Prevention and Safety Resources

Fire Prevention and Safety Resources text with image of a red fire extinguisher

FREE Printables All About Firefighting

Free Printables All About Firefighting text with image of a firefighter using a powerful water hose to put out a big fire

Teaching Fire Safety: FREE Resources to Spark Learning (Also Here) | Laura Candler’s Teaching Resources

Fireman Activities for Preschool | Living Life and Learning

FUN Fire Safety Lessons for Kids! | The Homeschool Resource Room

Theme: Fire Safety for Toddlers and Preschoolers | News with Naylors

DIY Fire Extinguishers | Brilliant Little Ideas

Foil Painted Campfire Craft | Crafts on Sea

Preschool: Fire Safety Unit | Mrs. Plemons’ Kindergarten

Fire Prevention and Safety Puzzle Pack – with Bonus Activity Set FREE | Reading Club Fun

It is important for families to emphasize the need of being knowledgeable in fire safety around the home. Kids should feel comfortable with what to do should fire dangers arise. They also should learn to not live in fear but to be aware and stay prepared.

With the many fires that have devastated many places like Australia and California in 2020, kids may be hearing about fires, and its important for us to teach kids well about them. Studying with these Free Resources for Learning About the Great Chicago Fire is a great place to start.

Free Resources for Learning About the Great Chicago Fire

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