Media Project

Bubbles: Agents of Change

Interactive Exhibit for the Birch Aquarium

birch aquarium logo

Project Overview

Agents of Change’s client is The Birch Aquarium. The aquarium serves as the interface for the world-renowned Scripps Institute of Oceanography at UC San Diego, and aims to provide ocean science education through its exhibits, programs, and activities to its visitors. Currently, the museum is expanding and wants to incorporate UC San Diego students’ work into its halls. 

Our team’s goal is to help design and build an interactive learning exhibit for the aquarium based off of Dale Stokes’s and Grant Deane’s research on how bubbles serve as a transfer agent between sea and air: As waves move gases under the water surface, bubbles collecting at the sea surface eject particles into the air when they pop, but increasing carbon emissions and pollution has changed how gases move between ocean and air. By building this exhibit, we hope to teach children about how reducing our human human impact can benefit this natural process. 

In order to accomplish the various facets of building an exhibit, our team divided into various subdivisions based on specialties. Students majoring in Cognitive Science used their knowledge of interaction design to understand how to build an exhibit that aquarium visitors, specifically children, would easily enjoy and learn from. They worked in connection with Dr. Nan Renner of the Birch Aquarium. By using previously collected field data and personal observations, the cognitive science subgroup contributed to deciding what each part of the exhibit should include how the different parts of the exhibit could interact. In the spring, they dedicated their time to iterating on feedback acquired during the Birch Aquarium presentation gala in order to make the exhibit more intuitive.