Visualizing Functions that Change with Time

Scientific Computing


  • Jessica Johnston Westminster College


This activity introduces students to creating animations with Python.  The models, based in physics, build from a simple position-dependent function to a time-dependent function such that students progress from visualizing a snapshot of a function at a particular time to animations over a period of time.  Students also explore impact of changing the variables of these functions and infer physical meaning.  Intended for use in a Scientific Computing course, students should be familiar with the characteristics of waves, as well as have experience with object-oriented programming, plotting with matplotlib, and creating and manipulating arrays with numpy prior to this activity.

This activity was developed with NSF support through IUSE-1626765. You may request access to this activity via the following link: IntroCS-POGIL Activity Writing Program

  • Level: Undergraduate
  • Setting: Classroom
  • Activity Type: Learning Cycle
  • Discipline: Computer Science
  • Course: Scientific Computing
  • Keywords: python, animations, wave functions




How to Cite

Johnston, J. (2023). Visualizing Functions that Change with Time: Scientific Computing. POGIL Activity Clearinghouse, 3(4). Retrieved from



CS-POGIL Activity Writing Program