, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 579-596

Through the Looking Glass: The History of Aquarium Views and their Potential to Improve Learning in Science Classrooms

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Abstract

Aquarium views, or AqViews, offer a glimpse into a split-phase aquatic system that is not normally afforded to terrestrial viewers. Although geologist Henry De la Beche created the AqView prototype two decades before the advent of the aquarium, this graphic type did not become popular until after the Victorian aquarium craze. We investigate the historical development and construct a comprehensive typology of AqViews that can be used by science teachers. We identify variations on the AqView, as well as a broader category encompassing non-aquatic systems, the PhaseView. Our research indicates that horizontal, cross-sectional representation of underwater scenes now appears to be the default position for some textbook authors, artists, and students. In spite of this, we believe AqViews are currently untapped resources for learning in science classrooms, and offer potential for enhancing science instruction, assessment, and visual literacy.