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This article describes three challenging yet accessible mathematics courses designed for middle school teachers and offered by the Department of Mathematics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Their descriptions are based on the courses as we have taught them as part of the Math in the Middle (M2) Institute Partnership, a National Science Foundation Math Science Partnership (MSP) program that works with practicing teachers. As a grant funded MSP, we take seriously the responsibility to share information about our program and the courses we have created. Readers are directed to our website  for information about our program and specifically to our course materials  for a link to additional information about the courses described in this article as well as other courses that we offer.
The aim of the M2 Institute, and the university—public-school partnership that created it, is to develop intellectual leaders in middle level mathematics (grades 5–8). A core strategy that guides Math in the Middle is to offer teachers content rich mathematics courses that are accessible and useful. Practicing teachers who are admitted to the M2 Institute earn 36 graduate credit hours over several years, resulting in a Master's Degree. More information on the M2 Institute is in the companion article  in this volume.
We describe three Math in the Middle courses: Mathematics as a Second Language (MSL), Experimentation, Conjecture and Reasoning (ECR), and Number Theory and Cryptology for Middle Level Teachers (NT&C).
In rethinking the courses below calculus, two questions naturally arise:
What mathematics courses (calculus and otherwise) will students take after completing courses supposedly intending to prepare them for calculus?
What mathematics courses have students studied before calculus and calculus preparation courses, and how recent is their knowledge?
This report attempts to partially answer these two questions based on a study that tracked the actual enrollment of students in precalculus, calculus, and non-calculus based courses over 20 successive semesters, from fall 1992 to spring 2002. This is a study of the enrollment flow of students on a microscopic level, in that it tracks the enrollment of individual students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a large midwestern university. This study allows us to examine actual student behavior along with changes and trends in that behavior over time. This is in contrast to national studies tracking the yearly number of students enrolled in generically labeled groups of courses (e.g., precalculus which encompasses college algebra, college algebra and trigonometry, precalculus, etc.) which gives a macroscopic view of trends in enrollment. This is also an examination of the probable success of calculus preparation curricula which plan student movement from course to successive course in sequential semesters in that the study examines actual student behavior, which may vary from the ideal. The data source Each semester the registrar generates a “correction roster” for the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
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