top of page

Unit 2

The Big Bang


The Big Bang

(This is part of the Big History Project Program)


Allison Bruning


Unit 1: What is Big History?


History, Science, Reading and Writing


10 - 17 years old




Session 1: Who Knows What?


Students will define adapt, advance, astronomical, Big Bang, discovery, evidence, hydrogen, intuition, logic, observation, parallax, proton, scholar, scientific, system and universe.

Students will examine a significant event of modern history through the eyes of a historian, fifth grader, kindergarten, high school student, doctor, lawyer, professor, police officer and politician. 

Students will construct a personal narrative of their lives from different points in time and different viewpoints.

Students will review the vocabulary for this unit.

Students will complete and discuss their answers on the Vocabulary: Part 1 worksheet.


Choose something important that has happened in your life. Write down how you remember the event. Interview anyone who was there with you. How different and similar is the retelling of the same story from their viewpoint. Be prepared to share your answers with the class in the next session. 

Session 2: A Big History of Everything


Students will present and discuss their homework. 

Students will watch and discuss  "How Small are We In The Scale of the Universe" and "A Big History of Everything - H2"

Students will discuss the differences between complex and simple. 

Students will read "Complexity and Threshold" then analyze the text using the Three Close Reads Method.


Finish your analysis.


Session 3: Threshold 1 and Claim Testing


Students will discuss their homework.

Students will watch and discuss "Threshold 1: The Big Bang" and "The Beginning of Everything - The Big Bang"

Students will analyze scientific articles concerning how the Big Bang relates to modern scientific discoveries. 

Students will watch and discuss "Questions about the Big Bang" 

Students will review what a claim is and how we are faced with them in everyday life. 

Students will work together to determine whether or not a claim presented to them is valid. 


1) Choose a scientist that has helped mankind to understand the universe. Research their life and their work. Create a short comic about their lives. Be ready to present your comic to the class in the next session. 

2) Bring a poster and art supplies with you to the next session

Session 4: Big Bang Infographic


Students will present their short comic to the class. 

Students will analyze the Big Bang timeline. 

Students will create their own infographic about the Big Bang and present it to the class.   

Students will take a quiz to determine the level of understanding they have gained in this unit so far. 


No Homework

Session 5: Unit 2 Vocabulary and Driving Questions


Students will review key vocabulary for this unit. 

Students will examine the Driving Question Notebook and Discussion Guide. 

Students will practice academic language, claim testing and engaging discourse through a class discussion centered around the driving question.  

Students will watch and discuss "Crash Course: Why Cosmic Evolution Matters."


No Homework! 

Session 6: Changing Views Part A


Students will watch and discuss "How Did Our View of the Universe Change"

Students will review how to read a timeline. 

Students will read about different scientists’ views of the Universe, and then place those on a timeline to create a story arc that helps them better understand how thinking about the Universe has advanced over time.

Students will understand how timelines can be used in historical analysis to deepen the understanding of an historical event. 


Choose one of the scientist we talked about to day and create a small biography about his life and what important contributions to science he made. Be ready to present your report to the class in the next session.  

Session 7: Changing Views Part B


Students will present and discuss their homework. 

Students will read a collection of articles that details the changing view of the Universe from geocentric to heliocentric. 

Students will summarize the shifts in thinking of both scientists and society over time

Students will analyze the contributions of Ptolemy, Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, and Hubble to the changing view of the Universe.


No Homework.

Session 8: Views of the Universe Debate


Students will discuss what a healthy debate is and how to maintain one without personally hurting your opponent. 

Students will watch  and discuss "How Can You Change Someone's Mind?"

Students will summarize the viewpoints of different scientists and insight into why some people might have resisted or argued against new models of the Universe.

Students will prepare an argument supporting either Ptolemy’s, Copernicus’s, Newton’s, or Hubble’s view of the universe then present their argument in a class debate. 


1) Review the "Big Bang Threshold" card.

2) Bring scissors to the next session

Session 9: Analyzing Investigative Writing - Organization


Students will analyze a scientific paper written by a high school student. 

Students will place paragraphs into a precise order that makes sense to the reader. 

Students will answer and discuss the Driving Questions:

How and why do individuals change their minds?
How and why did human understanding of the Universe change?


No Homework!

Session 10: Are We Alone?


Students will watch and discuss "Are We Alone?"

Students will review and discuss Unit 2 Vocabulary. 

Students will use the new vocabulary to construct meaningful sentences. 


No homework

Session 11: What Are Disciplines?


Students will define the word discipline and explain how disciplines relate to academic thought. 

Students will identify the different branches of science and how they contribute to scientific thought. 

Students will watch and discuss "Ways of Knowing - Introduction to Cosmology" and "Ways of Knowing - Introduction to Astrophysics"

Students will analyze the use of evidence in investigative writing. 


Students will assemble a research team to answer a scientific question then explain in a paper why they chose the people they did for the team. What contributions could each person bring to the team in order to solve that given problem. 

Session 12: Investigation 2


Investigation 2 builds upon the student's writing from Investigation 0. Investigation 0 is essentially the first draft of the student's paper.  The assessment provides an in depth look at the students writing ability. We will be working on our writing skills throughout the Big History Project. The periodic investigations will help parents, teacher and student determine the growth in the student's writing abilities. The assessment will not be used towards a grade nor will anyone judge the student.


Students will need to bring the following to class:

  • 12-inch (30-cm) round balloon

  • Permanent felt-tip marker

  • 24-inch (60-cm) piece of string

  • Ruler

Session 13: Ways of Knowing: Our Expanding Universe


Students will investigate what the Doppler Effect is and how it works. 

Students will watch and discuss "What is the Universe Expanding Into" and "Hubble's Expanding Universe, Redshifts, and the Big Bang"

Students will create a model to better understand how the Universe is expanding.


No Homework

Session 14: Dark Matter and Dark Energy


Students will read "Hubble Finds Ghostly Ring of Dark Matter" then analyze the text using the Three Close Reads Method.

Students will watch and discuss "What are Dark Matter and Dark Energy?"

Students will create a comic strip to illustrate the ideas and questions they have about the shape of the Universe, dark energy, dark matter, and what they imagine will happen at the “end” of the Universe.


Finish Your Comic Strip

bottom of page