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The Maths Arcade

The first Maths Arcade was set up at the University of Greenwich in September 2010 funded initially by a University grant for innovative teaching and later by the Mathematical Sciences HE Curriculum Innovation Fund.

The Maths Arcade is an innovative activity which aims to simultaneously support struggling learners, stretch more confident learners and encourage the development of a staff-student mathematical community.

In general, this is achieved through a drop in session where a wide variety of strategy games and puzzles are available for students to play with each other and with staff. Staff members present are also able to offer tutorial support. Games and puzzles might be simply played, to develop a mathematical-themed social environment, or strategies and modifications to the rules might be analysed, to develop students’ mathematical thinking.  It can also be used to provide a focal point for maths students from different year groups getting together with staff and PhD students to learn from each other.

As a result of dissemination of this in Greenwich, Birmingham and Exeter [1] [2] [3] other Maths Arcades have been initiated elsewhere. The concept of the Maths Arcade has also been rolled out to some schools and non-mathematics faculties such as Business and Engineering. More details can be found in some of the publications listed below [4] [5] [6] [7].

Beyond this, each Maths Arcade has a slightly different implementation adapted to suit local circumstances.  A booklet [6] has been produced with funding from the National HE STEM Programme which contains details of the original Maths Arcade at Greenwich, established in 2010/11, including some discussion of the advantages of running an Arcade. Case studies from seven other Maths Arcades established in 2011/12 are presented: Manchester, Salford, Sheffield Hallam, Leicester, Bath, Nottingham and Keele. Authors were asked to focus on where their Maths Arcade differs from the others, in order that a range of approaches are presented.

A ‘start-up guide’ has been compiled which raises some questions you may like to think about when setting up your own Arcade, and a list of games and other resources used.

The games were the focus for an Early Career Mathematicians’ conference that was held at Greenwich in November 2012.  This event led to the University Liaison Officer suggesting that Maths Societies could apply for IMA grants of up to £400 to by an initial start-up kit of games.

The Maths Arcade has its own Twitter account @MathsArcade and a Wiki - do follow and join and post items about strategy games and your Maths Arcade.


[1] Bradshaw, N., (2011) The University of Greenwich Maths Arcade, in seminar for the Transition, Induction and Peer-Assisted Learning project of National HE STEM South West Spoke, University of Exeter, 7 June

[2] Bradshaw, N., (2011). The University of Greenwich Maths Arcade. National HE STEM Programme Mathematics Curriculum Ideas Exchange 2011, Birmingham, 9 July

[3] Bradshaw, N., (2011). The University of Greenwich Maths Café. MSOR Workshop Developing Mathematical Thinking Through Problems: Puzzles and Games, University of Greenwich, London, 1 July

[4] Bradshaw, N., (2011).The University of Greenwich Maths Arcade. MSOR Connections, 11 (3). pp. 26-29. ISSN 1473-4869 Available from

[5] Bradshaw, N., and Lakin, S., (2012) The University of Greenwich Maths Arcade. Compass: The Journal of Learning and Teaching at the University of Greenwich. Available from

[6] Bradshaw, N. and Rowlett (eds.), (2012) Maths Arcade: stretching and supporting mathematical thinking. MSOR Network. Available from

[7] Bradshaw, N., Parrott, K., Lakin, S., Mann, T. and Sharp, M., (2012) Building on the Maths Arcade: supporting mathematics learning. In: C. Robinson (ed.), Student-centred Approaches in Mathematics. MSOR Network.