ALEX Lesson Plan


The Big Bang Theory: An Evidence-Based Argument

You may save this lesson plan to your hard drive as an html file by selecting "File", then "Save As" from your browser's pull down menu. The file name extension must be .html.

  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Hannah Bradley
System: Dothan City
School: Carver Magnet School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 35157


The Big Bang Theory: An Evidence-Based Argument


This lesson will require students to research the Big Bang Theory and the three main pieces of scientific evidence that support this theory. After students complete their research, they will engage in all steps of the writing process, including prewriting, outlining, revising, and editing. At the conclusion of the lesson, students will create a five paragraph argumentative essay to examine the Big Bang Theory and the scientific evidence that supports this theory.

This lesson results from a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and ASTA.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
LIT2010 (9-10) Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects
1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.
LIT2010 (9-10) Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects
1. Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
a. Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among the claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
b. Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying data and evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both claim(s) and counterclaims in a discipline-appropriate form and in a manner that anticipates the audience's knowledge level and concerns.
c. Use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.
d. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from or supports the argument presented.
SC2015 (9-12) Earth and Space Science
2. Engage in argument from evidence to compare various theories for the formation and changing nature of the universe and our solar system (e.g., Big Bang Theory, Hubble's law, steady state theory, light spectra, motion of distant galaxies, composition of matter in the universe).

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

  • Students will research the Big Bang Theory and the scientific evidence that supports this theory.
  • Students will analyze and evaluate the current scientific research that supports the Big Bang Theory.
  • Students will compose an argumentative essay that details the evidence that supports the Big Bang Theory.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will engage in the writing process, including the steps of prewriting, outlining, revising, editing, and final publication.

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

Greater than 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Student Materials (per student)


Notebook paper

Copies of the informational text (or Internet capable devices view informational text)

Big Bang Theory Research Graphic Organizer (see attachments)

Persuasion Map Graphic Organizer from (an online version is also available)

Website Links Used in Lesson (to be copied prior to lesson if internet-capable devices are unavailable to students)

“Origins of the Universe: An Expanding World” from National Geographic

“What is the Evidence for the Big Bang?” from Universe Today

“Hubble’s Law” from Universe Today

“Cosmic Microwave Background: Big Bang Relic Explained” from

“Tests of Big Bang: The Light Elements” from NASA

Handouts Used During Lesson (to be copied prior to lesson)

Persuasion Rubric from to be used for summative assessment

Evidence-Based Argument Checklist from 

Website for Acceleration Activity

Technology Resources Needed:

Student Technology Resources

An internet capable device to view informational text (if available)

Online prewriting graphic organizer (a PDF file is also available): Persuasion Map Student Interactive from

Website for acceleration activity:

Website Links Used in the Lesson

“What is the Evidence for the Big Bang?” from Universe Today

“Hubble’s Law” from Universe Today

“Cosmic Microwave Background: Big Bang Relic Explained” from

“Tests of Big Bang: The Light Elements” from NASA

Evidence-Based Argument Checklist from 

Persuasion Rubric from to be used for summative assessment

Teacher Technology Resources

Teacher computer with internet access

Interactive whiteboard and/or projector with ability to project sound

Video Clip from YouTube for background information-Theory vs. Scientific Theory (4:19)

Video clip from YouTube for before strategy- “The Beginning of Everything” (5:54)


Students need not be familiar with the Big Bang Theory, as this lesson will introduce students to this scientific concept. Students should have experience in developing argumentative writing pieces. If students have not had experience in this area, the teacher may wish to introduce this skill prior to teaching this lesson. The following website introduces strategies to teach this writing skill: Developing Persuasive Writing Strategies from

The teacher should be familiar with the Big Bang Theory and the three main pieces of evidence that support this theory. The Big Bang Theory is the idea that approximately 13.8 billion years ago the entire universe exploded from an infinitesimally dense, hot mass. This theory is supported by the following pieces of evidence: Hubble’s Law, cosmic microwave background radiation, and big bang nucleosynthesis. Hubble’s Law states that all galaxies are moving away from each other, which indicates that an explosion happened in the distant past to begin this galactic movement. Cosmic microwave background radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation that can be detected from every direction in space. This is thought to be “leftover” energy from the explosion of the big bang. Big bang nucleosynthesis refers to the idea that after the initial explosion of the big bang, the matter began to cool, and protons and electrons began to join together to form helium. Since helium was the first element to form in our universe, we would expect to find that helium is the most abundant element in our universe. Scientists have found that the majority of ordinary matter (24%) is in fact, helium.

The teacher should also be aware that the theory of the creation of the universe can be a controversial topic for some students. Therefore, it is important for the teacher to remain sensitive to students’ personal beliefs. This can be done by stressing the idea that the Big Bang Theory is just that, a theory. A theory is a scientific idea that is supported by evidence. Although the big bang is the most widely-accepted scientific theory of the universe’s creation, it is not the only theory and students are not required to consider this theory true if it is in opposition to their current beliefs. The following video clip provides a detailed explanation of scientific theory and can be used for teacher or student background knowledge: Theory vs. Scientific Theory on YouTube (4:19).

Before Strategy/Engage: 15 minutes

1. Give students two to three minutes to brainstorm a list of scientific theories they have heard of in the past on their sheet of notebook paper.

2. Ask for student volunteers to share one idea from their brainstorm and create a class list on the board.
Ask students, “What is a scientific theory?”

3. After allowing students to respond and discuss this question, tell students “A scientific theory is an explanation of an event that is observed in our world that is supported by evidence.”

4. Explain to students that during this lesson they will be introduced to the Big Bang Theory, which is one idea of how our universe was created. (See background information for tips on handling this theory with sensitivity to student beliefs.)

5. Show students the following video clip from YouTube: “The Beginning of Everything” (5:54). As students view the video, they should jot down important names and vocabulary words they hear during the video.

During Strategy/Explore & Explain: 60+ minutes

1. Students will need access to the articles listed in the materials section. Students may use a printed copy of the article or access the article online using an internet-capable device.

2. Students will read the articles while completing the Big Bang Theory Research Graphic Organizer (see attachments). This graphic organizer will require students to research the Big Bang Theory, as well as the three main pieces of supporting evidence. (See attachment for specific instructions on completing the graphic organizer.)

Note: Reading the articles in the following order will match best with the attached graphic organizer:

“Origins of the Universe: An Expanding World” from National Geographic

“What is the Evidence for the Big Bang?” from Universe Today

“Hubble’s Law” from Universe Today

“Cosmic Microwave Background: Big Bang Relic Explained” from

“Tests of Big Bang: The Light Elements” from NASA

Note: Depending on students’ abilities, the teacher may wish to read the articles and complete the graphic organizer as a whole class, or model this skill one time before allowing students to read the articles independently or with a partner or small group. In addition, the teacher may wish to require students to cite the articles used during the lesson in MLA or APA format to include in a bibliography page for students' final essay.

After Strategy-Explain & Elaborate-60+ minutes

1. After reading the articles and completing research notes using the graphic organizer, students will begin to develop their argumentative five paragraph essay. The teacher may wish to present the students with the grading rubric before they begin writing: Persuasion Rubric from The teacher should decide in advance if he or she will allow students to present their personal opinion of the Big Bang Theory, or require a strictly scientifically-based argumentative essay. The rubric does require students to state a personal opinion. The teacher could remove this from the rubric if needed.

Note: Depending on students’ experiences in writing in an argumentative format, the teacher may wish to provide more or less scaffolding during this portion of the lesson.

2. Students will begin the writing process by planning in their essay using the Persuasion Map Graphic Organizer from Alternatively, the students may complete this persuasion map in an online format using this website: Persuasion Map Student Interactive from

Note: The "thesis" should contain a statement about the Big Bang Theory and list the three main pieces of evidence. The "main reasons" and "facts or examples" should be the three pieces of evidence that support the Big Bang Theory and facts about these pieces of evidence students learn during their research. The "conclusion" should summarize the most important details of the student's argument. 

3. After completing the Persuasion Map, students should begin writing their essay. The teacher may require students to hand write or type their rough draft.
4. After completing the rough draft, students should review their own writing using the Evidence-Based Argument Checklist from Students should also switch papers with a partner to allow a classmate to complete the same checklist. (The teacher may wish to make a two-sided copy of the Evidence-Based Argument Checklist, so students can use one side for a self-check and one side for a peer-check.) As students review their essay and their peer's essay, they should also be editing spelling and grammatical mistakes.
5. After each student has revised and edited their own essay and had at least one peer revise and edit their essay, the student should complete a final draft of their essay. The teacher could require this to be handwritten or typed. 

**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download.

Assessment Strategies

Formative Assessment

The students will be informally assessed during the class discussion during the before strategy. The teacher should assess students' research by reviewing their Big Bang Theory Research Graphic Organizer. The teacher should informally assess students' rough draft writing by reviewing the Evidence-Based Argument Checklist.

Summative Assessment

The students will be formally assessed on their final draft of their argumentative essay using the Persuasion Rubric from


After completing the final draft of their essay, students can present their research in an infographic using the following website:

Note: You must create an account to use this website and creating an account is free.

Students may also create a presentation of their argumentative essay using PowerPoint or Prezi and present their research to the class.


The teacher may wish to provide additional scaffolding to those students requiring extra assistance during the after strategy of the lesson. The teacher could also pair struggling students with a peer. 

The teacher may reduce the length requirement for the essay (for example, from five paragraphs to three paragraphs). The teacher may also provide additional time for the writing process for those students who require it. 

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.