A survey of a large number of well-known textbooks for an undergraduate dynamics class showed that often new concepts are introduced without a clear connection to previously discussed material. For example, the concepts of work done by a force, linear momentum, angular momentum, and power are often introduced without a clear direct connection to Newton’s law. Similarly, in rigid body dynamics, important concepts such as the center of mass and the moments of inertia of the body are often introduced with little or no background. This article shows how all the important concepts in dynamics flow directly and logically from Newton’s laws. This is done through simple direct derivations. Connections are made clear by concept maps that help students understand how these different concepts are related. In addition to introducing new concepts and deriving some of the basic equations, a dynamics class should also introduce students to problem solving help them develop a systematic approach. This article describes a five step approach that is recommended for both high context and low context problems. In that context we stress that problem solving is a process that involves the application of known concepts and mathematics.

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