Middle School Math and the WebA session for Math in Action 2000 
The goal of mathematics instruction in the middle grades is to lay a solid
mathematical foundation for secondary school and beyond. During this time
period, many students will form conceptions about themselves as learners of
mathematics—about their interest, their competence, their attitude, and their
motivation. These conceptions will influence how they approach the study of
mathematics in high school, which will in turn influence their life
opportunities.

 NCTM Standards 2000 draft, Chapter 6 introduction 
Oh, is that all? That can be an intimidating mission. Similarly trying to incorporate the Web into your classroom can be intimidating  it's just too huge to know where to start. This page/session is an attempt to provide an introduction and starting point for investigating middle school mathematics on the web. Associated is a web page with Michigan's Curriculum Framework for Mathematics in Middle School .
This session is in two parts: Part 1  resources for the teachers of middle school math and Part 2  good mathematics that can be done with access to the web. In general this is either a lesson where the web is the resource for the idea or a lesson where web access is needed for the students to be able to do the lesson.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) is certainly one of the best friends a math teacher of any level can have. Their publications include Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School , which is free to members of the NCTM. Samples of their materials are available online. Also online are the current Principles and Standards and the draft for Principles and Standards 2000 . There is a local affiliate, the Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics which sponsors many opportunities for collaboration with other teachers and for professional development.
The Math Forum is an amazingly broad collection of links, lesson plans and problems. It offers a student area for exploration and explanation, a teacher area with lesson plans, links, and problems, discussion forums and more. Really the best internet math resource I've seen, with good search facilities also.
The ShowMe Center is a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project to iprove access to and publicize Standards based curricula. There is a lot of information here for teachers and schools evaluating their own curricula, and for those already using Standards based texts. The particular curricula covered are Connected Math, Math in Context, MathScape, MathThematics, and MMAP. They also provide inservice help and professional development.
The Michigan Department of Education has lots of information, including an education poll , MEAP results and the state Curriculum Framework . The Curriculum Framework for mathematics is closely modeled after the 1989 NCTM Standards. It is broken down by topic ( mathematics ) and then by strand, with distinctions for school level (example: measurement ). I have also set just the middle school strands for math here .
There are many websites which serve as collection points for lesson plans. You
have to
be a discriminating consumer with these, often sifting through some serious
chaff to find the gold. (I know it's a mixed metaphor, but...)
Possibly the best:
Middle School Teachers' Place: Collections of Lesson Plans
.
The biggest:
AskERIC Math
.
Broken down by standard:
SCORE Mathematics Lessons
 California lesson plans, aligned with their state curriculum framework,
which is similar to Michigan's for mathematics.
Somewhat random, but has some good things:
SMILE PROGRAM
a collection of almost 200 single concept lessons.
The following are just some sites with neat mathematics. Except where noted, you can get the information from these sites and present it to your class without them needing internet access.
MegaMath is a collection of really neat, powerful mathematics in a form accessible to many  certainly to most middle school students with your guidance. Nancy Casey, the MegaMath webmaster, has some other neat Projects and Investigations in Math . Another site with awesome activities and puzzles is the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching . At a higher level is Cut the Knot . My college geometry students loved the site, and it has some puzzlers accessible to middle school students.
Weekly challenges to your class can be found at several sites. Most allow for submission of solutions and recognition of those who submit them. Some challenges for your students can be found at Brain Teasers by Houghton Mifflin, although they don't compare to the Math Forum's Middle School Problem of the Week. Another challenge site is Aunty Math . Aunty's problems are very accessible, but she has hints for parents and teachers to present them and connections to the NCTM standards.
Math with the hook of a magic trick is at Mathemagic Activities . These can be performed for students to have them figure the trick out, or the students can present them to each other. There is a similar appeal to having your students can generate their own puzzles at Puzzlemaker's Number blocks and Math Squares . The math squares are an excellent source for order of operations practice.
The Math Forum's web units : these generally do require student access, but has a great variety of topic and level.
I have to put in a plug for my geometry students' websites . This also includes a link to their reviews of more than 50 geometry sites on the web.
If you have public TV in class, PBS has a site with connections and extensions to the math they show at PBS Teachersource  math .
Let's examine a few of the Michigan Curriculum Framework strands and see concrete ways to address them.
Patterns: Describe, analyze and generalize patterns arising in a variety of
contexts and express them in
general terms.
This can be addressed best by having real life data in which to find and
explore patterns. Two good sites for doin this are:
The Data and Story Library
and
Dr. B's Wide World of Web Data
. Both provide statistical data for classroom use, sorted by subject and
statistics topic. (My education students always seem to find
teacher pay by state
.) By having students find and analyze their own data set, you also address
all the topics in
Description and Interpretation
. Other examples of these standards can be found in
Exponential Functions on the Web
from a presentation by myself and Esther Billings.
Patterns: Explore and describe visual and numeric patterns, including linear
expressions, nearlinear
patterns and symmetric and spatial patterns.
An excellent application  which requires web access for students  is the
project
Linear Equations and Housing Prices
.
Students find prices and square footage of houses in a single market and
compare them. Also makes for interesting
comparisons between housing markets.
Inference and Prediction: Design experiments to model and solve problems using
sampling, simulations and controlled
investigations.
Traffic light timing
is modeled at this website. There is some work for the teacher to do in
explaing the variables used in the model, but the computer simulation enables
the students to completely control the simulation.
Shape and Shape Relationships: Use shape, shape properties and shape
relationships to describe the physical world and to
solve problems.
Tangram paradoxes
presents different situations you make with two sets of Tangrams in which they
appear to be congruent but can not be. This also addresses
Measurement: Interpret measurements and recognize that two objects may have
the same measurement on
one attribute (e.g., area) but not necessarily on another (e.g.,
perimeter).
Area with tangrams
(and without formulas) is yet another tangram activity which addresses these.
Collection, Organization and Presentation of Data:
Collect and explore data through observation, measurement, surveys, sampling
techniques and
simulations
and
Organize data using tables, charts, graphs, spreadsheets and data bases.
The Great Chocolate Experience III
(see TEACHER MATERIALS) offers a different opportunity  to use the web to
link your students to others investigating similar ideas.
Be sure to follow up with the
official M&M scoop
.
To work off the previous
activity, consider the
World Records for the Mile (Men)
activity. It addresses
Description and Interpretation: Draw, explain and justify conclusions based on
data.
Students pick historical and natural history locations in Michigan that they would like to visit. They then plan their trip using graph theory to minimize distance, time, and expense. Through this activity, the students will discover graph theory techniques and algorithms and be introduced to related terminology.
Sites that enable this: Michigan Live , a state guide to cities and events, Mapquest , a very flexible mapping site which can give door to door directions and distances as well, Mackinac State Historic Parks with Michigan history and guides to the four historical parks, and Michigan's Historical Center with guides to nearly all of Michigan's historical sites.
Pat's problem strongly addresses
Algebraic and Analytic Thinking: explore problems that reflect the contemporary
uses of mathematics in significant contexts and
use the power of technology and algebraic and analytic reasoning to
experience the ways
mathematics is used in society.
The following definitely requires student access to the internet.
Java is a programming language that allows programs to be run over the web regardless of computer type. This is a rapidly growing area which provides many neat handson manipulation and visualization. As an example, Java Geometry is a collection of more than 200 java applets at the middle school level. Interactive Physics and Math with Java allows online experimenting. (But gives too much away in my opinon! In terms of telling the students the formulas, etc.) A site that allows students to make conjectures is Basic Geometry applets . The father of all java geometry sites (almost literally), though, is Euclid's Elements with Java . If these interest you, try Java Mathematical Activities as a starting point for exploring lots of these.