Open-source computational software packages such as Scilab can be used for visualization and to promote a better understanding of the physics of oscillations. Students and teachers can use Scilab software for this purpose because it includes many built-in functions such as “ode” for solving differential equations and “plot2d” and “plot3d” commands for 2D and 3D drawing, respectively.

In this paper, I have plotted displacement and velocity vs. time; kinetic energy, potential energy, and total energy vs. displacement; and velocity vs. displacement (phase-space trajectory) for simple harmonic oscillations, damped oscillations, and forced oscillations without invoking complicated differential equation-solving techniques that are beyond the understanding of many introductory physics students.

Oscillations are an interesting topic at the high school level, as we observe many examples in our surroundings, from a swing in the garden to pendulum clocks.1 While teaching, we encountered complicated differential equations of motion, and solving for the displacement...

Supplementary Material

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