Terri and the Time Machine

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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?


“I feel like I’m getting just as excited as they are and it’s been nice to get stuck into it, I look forward to Thursday mornings.” 

(Caelin Mallon, teacher Webster Primary)



Bringing the science curriculum to life, Terri and the Time Machine aims to deliver memorable experiences via the power of vivid story-telling and hands-on practical challenges. 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.


“…it’s making that knowledge stick in their heads better than in previous years.”

(Hannah Phelan Teacher Webster Primary)



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


“[giving me] the confidence to say look this works, we’ve got the freedom here for this, could we maybe try and think about other things in slightly different ways as well.” 

(Kat Edwards Teacher at The Divine Mercy)


Regular Zoom calls with performers in character as “Investigator Terri”, a time-travelling engineer, and her colleague, “Investigator Giddeon”.

  • Sessions begin with an imaginative prompt: a performance from Terri or Giddeon via Zoom, an email or letter from the characters or an exciting package to be unwrapped 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.
  • All sessions are linked with the Year 3 curriculum and scientific enquiry skills; session plans and additional resources are provided to cover the entire Year 3 science curriculum.
  • 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:



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

(Jo Morris Teacher at The Divine Mercy)


MADE Manchester collaboration:

In partnership with MADE we are also exploring how arts based learning techniques can be used to deliver and enhance other areas of the primary curriculum. Look out for associated resources on the MADE website.

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


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