Students create a small never-ending card that shows them at three stages of life – the past when they were a baby, the present, and the future, when they will be an adult. They practice folding the card smoothly through the 3 images and then use it for storytelling.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 8


Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts


centre colour contrast diagonal rectangle shape


Crayola Coloured Pencils Crayola Fine Line Markers Crayola Crayons Rulers Cardstock Paper - 11 cm x 14 cm (4.25" x 5.5") Box Cutter - Teacher Use

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PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE ME – Never-Ending Card - Step One

Step One

  1. Draw an 'X' from one corner of the paper to the other.

PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE ME – Never-Ending Card - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Fold all 4 sides of the paper into the centre of the 'X'.
  2. Make sure the outer edges of each side of the paper line up with the centre of the 'X'.
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE ME – Never-Ending Card - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Turn the paper over so the 'X' is facing down.
  2. Draw picture #1 on the side that does NOT have the 'X' on it.
  3. Use lots of colour and pattern to fill in the whole space.
  4. This drawing should be of you as a baby.
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE ME – Never-Ending Card - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Turn the paper over so the drawing is facing down.
  2. Place it on a cutting board and make sure the 'X' is facing up.
  3. Use a box cutter and a ruler to cut along the 'X' that is inside the small rectangle formed by the 4 folds.
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE ME – Never-Ending Card - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Hold the card with the picture facing you.
  2. Gently fold the top edge down towards you. Be sure the little cut triangle pops up.
  3. Fold the bottom edge up towards you. Be sure the little cut triangle pops down.
  4. Flatten the paper and draw on this new space.
  5. This picture should be of you as you are now.
  6. Add details that tell something about you.
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE ME – Never-Ending Card - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Hold the card with the new picture facing you.
  2. Fold the side flaps into the centre.
  3. Make sure the little triangles pop out to the side.
  4. Flatten this space.
  5. Colour your last picture in this new space. 
  6. This picture should be of you in the future.
  7. Notice how the top and bottom of picture number 2 and picture number 3 are the same.
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE ME – Never-Ending Card - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Practice moving smoothly from one picture to the next.
  2. Begin by doing it with the card facing you.
  3. Once you are good at that, practice with the card facing an audience.
  4. Repeat the folds over and over again while you tell a short story to go along with the changes.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • demonstrate chronological thinking;
  • create a never-ending card using coloured pencil techniques;
  • use the never-ending card to tell stories about the past, present and future; 
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.


Have students:

  • write a story on a topic of their own choosing;
  • create a larger version of the never-ending card by using a piece of 30.5 cm x 45.5 cm (12" x 18") Bristol board;
  • include their written text along with the imagery;
  • present their never-ending stories to students in other grades.


  1. Create a sample.
  2. Cut enough paper for each student to have one piece.
  3. Gather and make available books about jobs and careers, for example, What Do Grown-ups Do All Day?, by Virginie Morgand; Mighty Mommies and Their Amazing Jobs: A STEM Career Book for Kids, by Donald Jacobsen, and Graham Evans; The Beeman, by Laurie Krebs, and Melissa Iwai; National Geographic Readers: What Is an Archaeologist?, by Libby Romero; and Wild Work! Animal Trainers, by Jessica Cohn.
  4. Gather and make available books about family history, for example, The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family, by Ibtihaj Muhammad, S. K. Ali, and Hatem Aly; The Quilt Story, by Tony Johnston; The Keeping Quilt, by Patricia Polacco; The Name Jar, by Yangsook Choi; and Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family's Journey, by Margriet Ruurs, Nizar Ali Badr, and Falah Raheem.


  1. Read a story about family history to get students thinking about their own past and relatives who might inspire them as they think about the future.
  2. Ask students to think about what they were like in the past.
    How far back can you remember?
    - What did you look like as a baby?
    - What stories do your parents tell about you?
    - What is your favourite family story about you?
  3. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a never-ending card with three distinct pictures.
  2. Picture #1 shows you as a baby.
  3. Picture #2, shows you as you are now.
  4. Picture #3 shows you as an adult.
  5. Use contrasting colour, pattern and detail to communicate ideas about you.
  6. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - accurately folded the cardstock to make a never-ending card
    - drawn a picture of me as a baby
    - drawn a picture of me as I am now
    - drawn a picture of me as an adult 
    - used contrast and pattern to communicate my ideas
    - added details that communicate my ideas
    - kept the paper in good condition
    - smoothly folded the card from one picture to the next to get back to the beginning
  3. Demonstrate how to fold the cardstock.
  4. As students finish their first picture have them come to a designated spot.
  5. Cut the 'X' for them using a box cutter.
  6. Demonstrate how to fold the paper for the 2nd drawing.
  7. Remind students that the top and bottom triangles of this picture will also be the top and bottom triangles of the last picture.
  8. As students finish the 2nd drawing demonstrate how to make the last fold.
  9. Continue to guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  10. Observe students as they work.
  11. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


Have students work in pairs.  

  1. Demonstrate how to flip through the card continuously, and then ask students to use their cards to take turns telling something interesting about each page, for example,
    - Student A showing the baby page - “In the past, when I was a baby I really liked to get into the pot cupboard. It drove my mother crazy!”
    Student B showing the baby page - “In the past, when I was a baby I loved to chase the cat . . . and pull her tail! It made the cat run away every time she saw me.”
  2. After everyone has had a chance to share in partners have some students flip through their entire card telling stories as they go.
  3. Ask students to reflect on the experience:
    What was challenging?
    What was the best thing about it?
    What was the worst thing about it?
  4. Ask student how they might use this never-ending card in a different way.


  1. Observe students as they work  – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss the never-ending cards – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Never-ending_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - Never-ending_self-assessment.pdf, or Never-ending_self-assessment_Primary.pdf)