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 space.com
“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 readwritethink.org. 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 readwritethink.org. Alternatively, the students may complete this persuasion map in an online format using this website: Persuasion Map Student Interactive from readwritethink.org.
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 readwritethink.org. 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.