Applying Newton's Second Law

  1. Draw a diagram and define co-ordinate system(s).
  2. Isolate the system(s).
  3. Draw all external  forces acting on system(s).   (Draw the "bubble"!).
  4. Take components.
  5. Apply F=ma for each component (and for each system). Apply constraints as needed.
  6. Solve.
  7. Check! Does your answer make sense?