Investigating Edinburgh’s Geological Past OER

Arthur's Seat with a background of blue sky

We are delighted to publish a Geology OER from the University of Edinburgh’s GeoScience Outreach Course, ‘Investigating Edinburgh’s Geological Past’ on This resource is created for learners aged 12-14 at the S2 level. It introduces basic ideas of geology, such as geological time, rocks and fossils, and geological skills. It consists of five lessons (sessions) including a field trip to Holyrood Park for the Session 3, and the Session 5 can be taught as a standalone lesson as well. Throughout the five sessions, learners are encouraged to explore the rich geological heritage of Edinburgh and to develop a range of skills to determine what the past environment of Edinburgh was like. The resource has been created as an Interdisciplinary Learning (IDL) resource, primarily between Geography and Science with relevant English skills. It will encourage students to integrate the knowledge and skills they have learnt from different subjects and use them to approach a subject that may be new to them.



One: Rock Descriptions Teaching and demonstration of three different rock types and their formation, followed by a hands-on activity in describing rocks.
Two: Carboniferous Edinburgh and FieldworkPreparation Exploring the Carboniferous environment using British Geological Survey poster; Preparation for the field trip by writing aims and hypothesis and practising field sketches.
Three: Holyrood Park Field Trip Field trip to Holyrood Park to visit Camstone Quarry (Sandstones and past environments) and The Dasses (intrusive igneous rocks, cooling rates and erosion).
Four: Reconstructing Past Environments Group work using Evidence Packs and field trip observations to determine what the environment during the Carboniferous period was like. Students to write a postcard to consolidate this knowledge as a picture and in text.
Five: Edinburgh in 100 years’ Time Consideration of different development pressures on Holyrood Park in the future. Students work in groups to present a proposed development.


Experiences and Outcomes:

SOC 3-07a Having investigated processes which form and shape landscapes I can explain their impact on selected landscapes in Scotland, Europe and beyond.
SOC 308a I can identify the possible consequences of an environmental issue and make informed suggestions about ways to manage the impact.
SOC 314a I can use a range of maps and geographical information systems to gather, interpret and present conclusions and can locate a range of features within Scotland, UK, Europe and the wider world.
SCN3-17a Through evaluation of a range of data, I can describe the formation, characteristics and uses of soils, minerals and basic types of rocks.
MNU 3-11a I can solve practical problems by applying my knowledge of measure, choosing the appropriate units and degree of accuracy for the task and using a formula to calculate area or volume when required.
ENG 3-27a /ENG 4-27a I can engage and/or influence readers through my use of language, style and tone as appropriate to genre.
LIT 3-29a I can persuade, argue, evaluate, explore issues or express an opinion using a clear line of thought, relevant supporting detail and/or evidence.


Investigating Edinburgh’s Geological Past‘ was created by Jenny Ridout, adapted into an OER by Mayu Ishimoto. The editor would particularly like to thank Kay Douglas and Colin Graham at the School of Geosciences, the University of Edinburgh for generous help during editing and publishing the resource. The resource is available under a Creative Commons AttributionShareAlike 4.0 license unless otherwise stated.


Header Image Attribution: Arthur’s Seat by Jenny Ridout, 2023, CC BY-SA.