Teach the Earth > Online Games > Workshop 08 > Frank Wattenberg

Frank Wattenberg

Department of Mathematical Sciences, United States Military Academy

  • Google – Flash Player Download – and download and install the latest version of Adobe's free Flash Player. You probably already have it but you may not have the most recent version.
  • Download (Zip Archive 11.4MB Apr22 08) the file (right click and choose 'Save as...')
  • Unzip the file. Note the name of the resulting directory and where you have put it. You will need to be able to navigate to this directory.
  • DISCLAIMER: This is an old version. The latest version is much better BUT the latest version is written in FLEX 3 and there seem to be some security issues when it is run on your computer.

Acadia National Park

I would like to focus on the combination of Global Warming, Modeling and Simulation, and Collaborative Experiments both because this is the single most important job we face as earth system scientists and mathematicians and because it is a good venue in which to study the issues surrounding game-like environments and collaborative environments.

Here are some points I would like us to address

  • Simulations should always include details of the models. Indeed, this should be the focus of students' attention. The presentation should not overstate the models. For example, a simple model based on a very idealized earth (e.g. only solar energy input and energy radiation through the atmosphere) should be presented as a sphere without details. A more complex model linking the atmosphere, land, and water masses should be represented by a an earth with correspondingly more detail. As we add details to the model – for example, the role of vegetation – the presentation should add details.
What is your experience with on-line games or environments?

I'm one of the leaders of an effort to create and use models and gamelike simulations in STEM education.

What do you hope to learn from the workshop experience?

Share what we are all doing and talk about what works.

What specific aspects of on-line games and environments in geoscience education are you interested in discussing with other workshop participants?

The single most important problem we face is climate change and our understanding is largely dependent on earth system science modeling and simulation. Public policy decisions must be informed by a deep and rich understanding of the underlying models. For these reasons modeling and simulation is the center of my interest.

Frank's Poster (PowerPoint 7.9MB Apr19 08)

Frank Wattenberg --Discussion  

Hi Frank- I like the whole idea of an emersive environment that lets you experience a scientific model. I get the whole modeling thing (which by the way you have done very nicely--people have trouble with the dif between models of observations *(descriptive and theoretical models (derived from basic laws of science). However, I can't begin to imagine what this is going to look like, how it is going to work. Have you got a vision you can explain to me? Cathy


Share edittextuser=3 post_id=2424 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=820

Hi Cathy,

The easiest way to do this is by sending you the pre-alpha software we have now. I can send it to you (and any others who are interested) and we can use a telecon with each of us at our computers, so you can actually try it out.

One possibility would be to have a workshop session as part of this workshop. The preparation would be --

1. Each participant would need our software. I can send it as a zip file.
2. Each participant would need to install the latest version of FlashPlayer. This is free and most people have it but they may not have the latest version.

During the session I could demo it and others could follow along on their own computers.


Share edittextuser=1731 post_id=2448 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=820

Hi Frank ---

So what is the main goal here ? To provide an interactive experience on climate for the students or to involve them in "solving" something ? (I think I know the answer).

Is this done as a teaching tool, part of the learning process; or is it done to emphasize the complexity of a problem?



Share edittextuser=1730 post_id=2458 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=820

Me too! I have wondered about future interfaces to climate modeling software where as in some 3d modeling programs one would adjust factors (say cloud density characteristics) as one flew around or inside the model.

There is a whole literature out there about how we cognitively process shapes and complex surfaces, and much of this is tied to our evolution. How will we change/adapt to being inside a complex atmospheric or groundwater model in order see what is going on? I can't wait.


Share edittextuser=1737 post_id=2459 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=820

I like your concerns/interests on understanding models- curious if there is an approach that would cause implications for putting your "faith" (or $ or time) into a faulty model, or things that might help learners identify short comes in models.


Share edittextuser=1689 post_id=2471 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=820

This post was editted by Alana Danieu on Apr, 2016

See EdGCM at:


For one of the best educational efforts I know of for doing climate simulations.


Share edittextuser=1740 post_id=2477 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=820

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