Debate: What Do You Think Existed Before The Big Bang?


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Take on one of the most challenging questions in science today. Conduct research and prepare for debate!


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Debate: What Do You Think Existed Before The Big Bang?

  1. 1. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 2 BEFORE THE BIG BANG 1 2.3 BEFORE THE BIG BANG Introduction One of the most challenging questions in science today is this: What came before the Big Bang? In this debate activity, you’ll assume a position, build an argument in support of it, and defend it in an open debate within class. This debate activity presents a realistic challenge, since scientists really can’t know what came before the Big Bang. The goal of this activity is to provide you with an opportunity to wrestle with arguments made today by scholars, scientists, and philosophers. Preparation for the activity Your teacher will assign you to one of the position groups below. You will be responsible for researching and arguing this position. As in any debate, you may be assigned to defend a position with which you do not actually agree. You don’t need to agree with the position, though you need to understand the perspective of those that do. Use the Internet and course materials to help you in your research. You will be assigned to one of these position groups: • PG 1: The Big Bang was only one in an ongoing series of “big bangs” the Universe has experienced and will continue to experience. • PG 2: The Big Bang is only one of many “big bangs” and our Universe is only one of many universes. • PG 3: There was nothing before the Big Bang. • PG 4: The Big Bang was the result of divine creation.
  2. 2. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 2 BEFORE THE BIG BANG 2 • PG 5: There will never be a way for humans to know what came before the Big Bang. Each group will spend 20 to30 minutes preparing their position. Everyone in the group will work together to identify material to support the group’s position, and to create a list of arguments that other groups might use to argue against your group. One or two of your team members might each work on the opening and closing statements while the rest of the group is conducting research; however, the entire group should edit these statements. As a team, decide who will be reading your group’s opening statement, rebuttal, and closing statements. While listening to the presentation of other groups, be sure to take for your rebuttal of the other teams’ opening statements. Debate format • Opening statements Each group will read their opening statement for the debate. • Groups meet to prepare rebuttals Groups will spend 10 to15 minutes preparing a rebuttal of the other groups’ opening statements. • Rebuttals Each group will read their rebuttal in response to the other groups opening statement. • Groups meet to modify closing statements Each group will take 5 to10 minutes to revise their closing statements to account for the other group’s rebuttals. • Closing statements Each group will read their closing statement for the debate. Vote on the outcome Once the debate is complete, vote on which group made the best argument for its position. Remember: Vote for the group that made the best argument, not for the group arguing the position you agree with. Resources
  3. 3. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 2 BEFORE THE BIG BANG 3 • Unit 2 video: Questions About the Big Bang UnderstandingBigBang/Levin-BigBang • The Big Bang, briefly • Will we ever… know what happened before the Big Bang?