Terri and the Time Machine

Terri and the Time Machine is an ambitious experiment in arts-based learning, developed by Z-arts and One Tenth Human and funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

With the help of Year 3, Investigator Terri, is building a time machine – but finds herself trapped when the malfunctioning machine starts rocketing around in time and space. In a year long on-going narrative of peril and adventure, can Year 3 work together to help her succeed?

“ It’s made our science lessons come alive!”

(Year 3 Teacher)


Bringing the science curriculum to life, Terri and the Time Machine aims to deliver memorable experiences via the power of vivid story-telling, hands-on practical challenges & horizon-widening field trips. The project is designed to increase children’s engagement and enjoyment in science as they experience the Year 3 curriculum through an arts-based approach; building science capital so children begin to see themselves as scientists and see how science relates to their lives.

“They look forward to the call on a Thursday. They are so excited about…it’s the most excited I have seen them for anything in class.”

(Year 3 Teacher)

Terri and the Time machine is a collaboration with award-winning theatre company, One Tenth Human and we are also being advised by Dr Lynne Bianchi, Director of the Science and Engineering Education Research & Innovation Hub at Manchester University (SEERIH).

Funding has been secured to develop the project over three years, extending to more schools in the second and third year. The first year is a pilot year working with 3 schools, Webster, St Mary’s Moss Side and Divine Mercy, working together to create a truly ground breaking project.

“They are doing something for a purpose makes more sense than just doing it.”

(Year 3 Teacher)

  • Regular live Zoom calls with performers in character as “Investigator Terri”, a time-travelling engineer, and her colleague, “Investigator Giddy”
  • Sessions begin with an imaginative prompt: an interaction with a performer via Zoom, an email or letter from a character, an exciting package to be unwrapped, or a film containing a secret message found online by the teacher and investigated further with the help of the children.
  • Prompts hook the children back into the story, reminding them of the high-stakes situation, and setting the scene for each particular challenge. Teachers then support children to investigate Terri’s challenge, come up with creative solutions, and capture solutions in order to feed back to Terri – who’ll provide encouragement and reward.
  • In the first year, whilst we’re developing the full programme, members of our team will often be present in the classroom to support teachers; by the third year, teachers will be empowered and confident to deliver arts-based activity without our physical presence.
  • All sessions are linked with the Year 3 curriculum and scientific enquiry skills; session plans and additional resources are provided to support the live Terri interactions, as well as additional supplementary session plans.
  • Links with STEM ambassadors – opportunities for the children to interact with scientists and engineers though Q&As and ‘real life science’ problem solving opportunities.
  • Provision for pupils to experience educational visits to help provide a context to learning.
  • Training and support for teachers to develop confidence in delivering the sessions within the classroom.

If you’d like to find out more or would like to get involved, contact:



The programme is inspired by our successful projects My Planet and Curious Investigators.  Find out more below via the links below :

Curious Investigators

My Planet


Safeguarding and wellbeing

Data Protection Agreement

MADE Manchester collaboration:

We have some additional funding in partnership with MADE to exploring how arts based learning techniques can be used to deliver and enhance the primary science curriculum.

Do you have an interest in science and would you be interested in developing and deliver a one off arts based STEM workshop for a Year 3 class (age 7-8)?

Any content created would be added to the MADE resource library for other educators to use as well as support the development of the Terri and the Time Machine project.

If you would like to find out more about the MADE projects, get in touch:


 “It’s definitely motivated them, they’ve really enjoyed the project like it’s put a bit of excitement into our science lessons”

(Year 3 Teacher)