Historical Houses of Pieter Claesen Wyckoff and Gracie Mansion

Name: Diana Pyatigorsky

Subject: Social Studies Field Trip Pre and Post-Lesson

Grade: Fourth

Lesson Title: Historical Houses of Pieter Claesen Wyckoff and Gracie Mansion


Pen, Pencil, Paper

Pre-assessment of Student Knowledge: Students have been immersed in a unit on early New York City. As a class, they accurately completed a K-W-L chart on life in New York City from the time of the creation of the houses to present day, including forms of transportation, jobs, and communication.

Content-Specific Standard(s):

Social Studies

Standard 3: Study about the major social, political, economic and cultural development of New York.


Thinking Objective: Students will interpret information about Pieter Claesen House and Gracie Mansion.

Mastery Objective: Students will visit both historical houses and understand the significance of the people who lived there and their accomplishments.


Introduction and Motivation:

Introduce the story of Pieter Claesen as a young teenager of 12 years old who left his home to make a new life in the “new world.” Discuss his hardships and accomplishments.

Introduce Grace Mansion, what it was originally built for, how it changed, and what it is now.

Essential Questions

Why did young Pieter Claesen chose to migrate to New Amsterdam?

How did he survive and what trades did he learn?

Would you leave your home for a better life?

Who originally built Gracie Mansion and why did he have to leave his house?

What functions has Gracie Mansion served as?


  1. Locate Pieter Claesen and Gracie Mansion on current map. Locate bodies of water and current boroughs that surround the site. Discuss ways to travel to and from the site.
  2. Student prepare five questions prior to each trip
  3. Visit the Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House Museum.
  4. Visit the Gracie Mansion
  5. Complete K-W-L Chart
  6. Start Venn Diagram

Closure: Students will share out their pre-visit expectation and their post-visit observations.  Each student will write their impressions of their visit to Peter Claesen House and Gracie Mansion.

Assessment-Teacher will assess understanding during conference time and during the share. Ask follow up questions if students are not confident with their explanations. Students will be assessed for their activity participation, their participation as audience members and their working material. Student project work will be reviewed against the rubric.

Diversity: This lesson continues the work of opening a window into a past cultural experience through the use of historical role-play.  Allowing students to role-play and create their own journal entries brings to life the understanding of their own time period in respect to other time periods throughout history.


Using project-based and creative learning activities, students that struggle with comprehension are able to use their imaginations to show that they understand the content. This lesson also supports concreteness of the topic with the use of pictures and personal narratives.

The Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House is the oldest surviving example of a Dutch saltbox frame house in America, and one of the oldest wooden structures that is still standing in this country.

Compass Rose Motif in Foyer

Floor’s pattern is based on a design from 1800


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: