Contre Temps

Age Range: 7 - 11
By: Sam Collins

Genre(s): Mystery, Adventure

A man and a girl meet in a mysterious submerged city. Use our teaching ideas to explore this animated film.

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • Collect vocabulary and phrases related to time, for example adjective, adverbs, adverbial phrases.
  • Write the prequel - how did the city get submerged?
  • Compare to other books and films set underwater, for example The Little Mermaid,  The Rainbow Fish. What common themes can you find?
  • Compare the setting with The OceanMaker where there is too little water.  
  • Write the story from the point of view of the girl.
  • Write some dialogue between the characters from 3:23 to 3:55. 
  • Write character sketches for the characters; Noe (the man)  and Kia (the girl). Explore this site for some illustrations of them.
  • Discuss the two meanings of “contre temps”; the literal french meaning of “against time” and the English meaning of “a small argument”. Is it a good title for the film? Can you make up a different title?
  • Contre temps is a french phrase commonly used in English. Can you find out any more? For example, deja vu, au fait.
  • Describe the setting of the story in a poem.


  • Look at different clock displays - how do we convert from analogue to digital, or 12 to 24 hour?
  • Set some time word problems based on the film. For example, if high tide is at 10:00 am and the time is now 8:30 am, how long is it until high tide?
  • Look at some tide tables - what patterns can you see? Set some word problems based on the tides.


  • Where in the world do we find coral? What kind of habitat does it need?
  • Research tides and create a fact file. Why do we have high and low tides?
  • Investigate how pendulums work by making them from string and a weight (for example some plasticene). How long does it take to swing from one point to another? What happens if you change a variable (the weight of the pendulum, the length of the string)?


  • Design a webpage to promote the film. What images would you include to make people want to see it?

Design Technology

  • Investigate clockwork mechanisms. How do they work?


  • Stop the film at 1:47. Look at images of staircases and try drawing your own. This step by step video will help. 


  • Listen to some music on the theme of water, for example Handel’s Water Music. How does the music make you think of water? 
  • Compose a soundtrack for the film. Which instruments would you use?


  • Water is essential for human life. Research how people in different parts of the world get their water. For example, what is the difference between hot countries and cold countries? 
  • Compare a place near the sea with a place very far away from it. 
  • Look at public clocks in your area. Why have they been placed where they are?


  • Find out about some submerged cities. For example, Lion City in China was purposely submerged to form a reservoir and divers can now explore it.
  • Watch this video from the British Museum about the history of telling the time.

Physical education

  • Create your own dance based on the story.


  • Find out time words in the language you are studying.


Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.