Engineering & Technology
Teach Passively / Watch: One theme throughout the movie is music technology in the 1980s. Look into the history of technology for listening to music. Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877. Vinyl records came out in 1948. Cassette tapes came out in 1958 and were widely introduced as a features for cars made in the 1960s. Sony came out with the Walkman in 1981, which Charlie uses in the movie. Watch this 6-minute video made by the Wall Street Journal to get that historical overview as well as learn the history of CDs, mp3s, online streaming, and music piracy.
Watch: The final battle of the movie surrounds a tower where the Decepticons attempt to communicate with their allies elsewhere in space via manmade satellites and coordinate an attack of planet earth and kill all humans and Autobot resistance. How does satellite technology work? The Learn Engineering channel explains that here. How do people launch satellites into orbit? Watch this SciShow Space video to find out.
Watch: After Bumblebee’s voice synthesizer is taken away by Blitzwing, he is left unable to speak. Charlie later installs a working radio in him and he is able to use fragments of songs and radio interviews to communicate his ideas. How do radios work? What technologies are in place for us to be able to receive radio frequencies and listen to radio stations? That is explained in this video.
Watch: The Golden Gate bridge is the most iconic in the world. More pictures are taken of it than any other because of its beauty and history. Watch this ten minute video to understand the magnitude of human achievement its construction entailed.
Read: Charlie works at a fried corn dog stand. To learn about the link between eating fried foods and obesity, heart disease, early death, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, read this article about it on WebMD.
Language & Thinking
Read: Read Transformers – Bumblebee: Win If You Dare. Synopsis: “Bumblebee is racing back into action, eager to show Optimus Prime that he’s a valuable part of the team. But when a new friend lands in his life — and puts Bee fender deep in military intrigue — he’ll soon learn that winning isn’t about being perfect, or the best. It’s about enduring the challenges that make us stronger, and showing just what we can do.”
Read: Read Transformers: Bumblebee – The Junior Novel. Synopsis: “On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small California beach town. Charlie, on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken.”
Leadership & Entrepreneurism
List: You see multiple VHS tapes during this movie. The history of VHS technology is a great case study about how more advanced technology does not always win in business. As you watch this 4-minute video about the history of VHS, list all the strategic, consumer demand, and legal reasons VHS beat Sony’s Betamax technology.
Watch: When Charlie leaves Bumblebee covered in her garage to go to work, Bumblebee decides to explore her house and inadvertently destroys things in her her house. When he goes to the TV, you see the first video game ever made – Pong. The history of Pong is a fantastic story to know about because it illustrates the circuitous route of most innovation. The inventor of Pong, Ralph H. Baer, had no intention of creating a video game. It was an accidental discovery during his process of inventing robots and communications technologies. Here is a documentary about it. Here is a 4-minute original black and white video of him and Bill Harrison playing it in 1969. Bill Harrison helped Ralph Baer turn Pong into a business.
Astronomy & Space Science
Watch: A meteorite is a meteor that doesn’t burn up all the way in the earth’s atmosphere and actually hits the ground. Technically, Bumblebee, the Decepticons, and the rest of the Transformers could be called meteorites. Here is a Crash Course video on meteors and here are a couple SciShow Kids videos (1, 2) on the topic.
Watch: When Charlie accidentally activates Bumblebee’s homing signal as she starts him in Volkswagon form, the Decepticons detect is as they are on one of Saturn’s moons. Saturn has many moons that have greatly excited astronomers. Here is a 3 minute video of astronomers exploring them. The moon of most interest is Titan, which has an ocean and is thought to possibly have life forms, too. Here is a BBC documentary of Titan.
Botany & Gardening
Watch: Charlie and Bumblebee walk through a redwood forest. Redwood trees are the tallest in the world and attract tourists from all over the world to California. Watch this short National Geographic video to get a sense of their majesty or this video about David Milarch’s plans to regrow Redwoods which spawned out of the shame that people have already cut down 95% of them.
Watch: The whole reason US federal agents partnered with the Decepticons to find B-127 (Bumblebee) was because they believed that if they didn’t do it then Russia would and probably join forces with them to fight the US. Bumblebee takes place in 1987, which means this was during the Cold War. To learn about the Cold War, here are Crash Course videos on the topic:
How else might important subject matter be learned from this interest topic? Comment below! Half-baked ideas are more than welcome, too.