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- Be able to distinguish how acceleration and force appear in Newton’s 2nd law.
- Analyze problems involving the motion of one or more objects using Newton’s Second Law. This includes being able to:
- identify the objects that will constitute the system that is being analyzed
- identify the forces exerted on the system by other objects
- identify internal forces between the objects inside the system
- determine the net force by vector addition of forces
- choose a coordinate system for each object based on the specific situation in the problem
- apply Newton’s 2nd law for the given situation to each object
- Be able to predict (using Newton’s 2nd law) if the acceleration of the system is constant or not.
Notes: Newton's Laws of Motion (PDF - 4.9MB)
Suggested Textbook Reading (Optional)
Chapter 4.2-4.6, 5.1-5.3. Young, Hugh D., Roger A. Freedman, and A. Lewis Ford. Sears and Zemansky's University Physics: with Modern Physics. 12th ed. San Francisco, CA: Addison-Wesley, 2007. ISBN: 9780805321876.
Read through the class slides carefully. They explain all of the concepts from the module.
Slides: Newton's Second Law (PDF - 1.0MB)
Do the Concept Questions first to make sure you understand the main concepts from this module. Then, when you are ready, try the Challenge Problems. If you are struggling with the Challenge Problems, watch the Homework Help Session videos, which will give you tips on how to tackle problems of this type.
Concept Questions (PDF)
Challenge Problems (PDF)
Solutions (PDF - 13.1MB)
Problem Solving Help
In the following videos Prof. Walter Lewin explains how to approach the Challenge Problems.
Help Session 1
Help Session 2
Help Session 3
Help Session 4
Help Session 5
Help Session 6
There are countless resources available online to help you learn physics. Try these:
- Try out a couple interactive simulations from PhET:
- Read about Newton's Second Law in HyperPhysics from Georgia State University
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