This Threshold Today: The Big Bang

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Reveal unexpected connections between today's world and the Big Bang by reading and interpreting news articles.

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This Threshold Today: The Big Bang

  1. 1. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 2 THIS THRESHOLD TODAY 1 2 THIS THRESHOLD TODAY Threshold 1: The Big Bang Summary In this activity students are asked to look for news on the Big Bang in a newspaper, magazine, or scholarly journal (or they can choose links from the list provided). Although scientists have learned a great deal about the Big Bang over the past 80 years, many questions remain, and recent research has provided insights into these questions. Students can explore topics such as these: • The precise age of the Universe • Early galaxies • The nature of dark matter and dark energy • The acceleration of the Universe’s expansion • The discovery and importance of the Higgs-Boson Preparation for the activity Have students work alone or in small groups. Students should find articles about current research on the Big Bang, or choose from the list provided. Presenting their findings Students should use the “research cards” provided in the student materials to record the source information about their articles and then take some notes on the importance of what they read to our understanding of this threshold. Student-facing materials In the following pages we provide some background information about the Big Bang, instructions for completing this activity, and some suggestions for possible articles that students could read. TEACHING MATERIALS
  2. 2. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 2 THIS THRESHOLD TODAY 1 2 THIS THRESHOLD TODAY Threshold 1: The Big Bang Out of the Big Bang came everything in the Universe. All of the matter that formed Earth, all of the materials that formed the stars and galaxies that light up the night sky, all of the building blocks for everything in the Universe were once contained in a tiny singularity. Even space and time as we know them emerged from the Big Bang. That is why the Big Bang is considered the first “new complexity” in the Universe and the first major threshold of increasing complexi- ty in this course. Scientists, and all of us, are continuing to learn more about the Big Bang and how our Universe formed. You can join in this process of discovery by searching for news stories about the Big Bang and the history of our Universe. Use some of the suggested articles or find ones on your own that highlight new information that you think contributes to a discussion of the Big Bang today. Use the research cards on the next page to record your source(s) and some of the details about what you discover. Here are a couple of places to get started with your research: • Planck Mission Updates the Age of the Universe and What It Contains http://newscenter.lbl.gov/science-shorts/2013/03/21/planck-results/ • Planck Satellite: Maps Detail Universe’s Ancient Light http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21866464 • New Knowledge About Early Galaxies http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130703101431.htm • Smallest Galaxy Ever Discovered Bolsters Dark Matter Theory http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/06/11/smallest-galaxy-ever- discovered-bolsters-dark-matter-theory/ • “God Particle”: Why the Higgs Boson Matters http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-205_162-57574534/god-particle-why-the- higgs-boson-matters/
  3. 3. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 2 THIS THRESHOLD TODAY 2 2 THIS THRESHOLD TODAY Threshold 1: The Big Bang THRESHOLD 1 THE BIG BANG HEADLINE/TITLE SOURCE/DATE IMPORTANCE TO THIS THRESHOLD THRESHOLD 1 THE BIG BANG HEADLINE/TITLE SOURCE/DATE IMPORTANCE TO THIS THRESHOLD THRESHOLD 1 THE BIG BANG HEADLINE/TITLE SOURCE/DATE IMPORTANCE TO THIS THRESHOLD

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