Science & Education

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 579–596 | Cite as

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

  • Renee M. ClaryEmail author
  • James H. Wandersee


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.


Historical Development Science Instruction Aquatic System Science Teacher Broad Category 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Boston Museum of Science: n.d., The Virtual Fish Tank™. Retrieved 13 June 2003 from Scholar
  2. Breukelman, J. 1941‘The Aquarium as a Teaching Device: Part I’The American Biology Teacher3133135Google Scholar
  3. Darwin, C. 1842On the Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs.Walter ScottNew York.Google Scholar
  4. Darwin, C.: 1842, On the Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs. Walter Scott, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Disney Central: 2002, February 12, Message posted to Review Central, archived at corr&dynamic-links=yesGoogle Scholar
  6. Dodick, J., Orion, N. 1998‘Geology as an Historical Science: Its Perception within Science and the Education System’Science & Education12197211Google Scholar
  7. Gould, S. J. 1998‘Seeing Eye to Eye, through a Glass Dlearly’Gould, S. J. eds. Leonardo’s Mountain of Clams and the Diet of WormsHarmony BooksNew York5773Google Scholar
  8. Griffin, D.: 1998, Inside Out, National Geographic, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  9. Holton, G. 2003‘What Historians and Science Educators Can Do for One Another’Science & Education12603616CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Jelsoft Enterprises: 2000–2004, Disney World & Orlando: The Unofficial Guide. Retrieved 2 October 2004 from Scholar
  11. Kisling, V.N.,Jr 2001a‘Ancient Collections and Menageries’Kisling, V.,Jr. eds. Zoo and Aquarium History: Ancient Animal Collections to Zoological GardensCRC PressNew York147Google Scholar
  12. Kisling, V.N.,Jr. 2001b‘Zoological Gardens of the United States’Kisling, V.,Jr. eds. Zoo and Aquarium History: Ancient Animal Collections to Zoological GardensCRC PressNew York147180Google Scholar
  13. Krakauer, T., Russle, R. L., West, R. M. 1994‘Interactive Exhibits in a Zoo Environment’The Informal Science Review917Google Scholar
  14. Lyell, C. 1838Elements of GeologyJohn MurrayLondonGoogle Scholar
  15. Matthews, M. 1994Science Teaching: The Role of History and Philosophy of ScienceRoutledgeNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  16. McGeary, D., Plummer, C., Carlson, D. 2004Physical Geology: Earth Revealed5McGraw-HillNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. Monroe, J. S. 2001The Changing Earth: Exploring Geology and Evolution3Brooks/ColePacific Grove, CAGoogle Scholar
  18. Paivio, A. 1971Imagery and Verbal ProcessesHolt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc.,New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Paivio, A. 1991‘Dual Coding Theory: Retrospect and Current Status’Canadian Journal of Psychology45255287Google Scholar
  20. Rudwick, M.J.S. 1992Scenes from Deep Time: Early Pictorial Representations of the Prehistoric WorldUniversity of Chicago PressChicagoGoogle Scholar
  21. Stone/Warden, J.: 2003, ‘Cover image’, Journal of College Science Teaching, 32.Google Scholar
  22. Tufte, E.R. 1997Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and NarrativeGraphics PressCheshire, CTGoogle Scholar
  23. Tufte, E.R. 2001The Visual Display of Quantitative IinformationGraphics PressCheshire, CT(Original work published 1983)Google Scholar
  24. Weyland: 1997, Wyland: The Whaling Walls, Wyland Studios, Laguna BeachGoogle Scholar
  25. Wilson, J. (ed.).: 2003, ‘Science Goes Hollywood to Save Troubled Waters’, Popular Mechanics, 180, 24Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversity of Louisiana at LafayetteLafayetteUSA

Personalised recommendations