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Introduction to Robotics Ages 13-15

Oxford Summer School 2019
Also available in Cambridge

Oxford Royale also offers a Summer Robotics Programme for ages 16-18

A Robotics summer course designed to give students a practical, hands-on head-start in the field of Robotics - a discipline that is as important as it is exciting.

2 weeks | Available July 2019

  • Live, dine and study in colleges of the University of Oxford
  • Expert tutoring from ORA's technology faculty
  • Talks and debates with world-class guest speakers
  • A truly international environment - over 135 nationalities in 2018
  • Inspirational cultural programme, including excursions to historic UK locations

Course Summary

During this two-week robotics summer course, students will go on a journey; one that begins with learning the basic theory of robotics and ends with building and controlling robots with advanced behaviours. Robotics skills taught include moving, turning, line detection, line following and obstacle avoidance, ensuring students are well-equipped for future study in the discipline.

Fundamental areas of robotics will be explored, including working with Raspberry Pi single board computers and learning how to use the Python programming language. The course will culminate with students programming robots to navigate a 3D maze, showcasing their impressive range of acquired skills throughout the programme.


Students will learn in classes of no more than 10 students and will be led by a teacher with a wealth of experience in the field of robotics.

What to expect from the Introduction to Robotics course

In class, students will work with Raspberry Pi single board computers and an adaptor kit to build their own robot. They will then use the Python programming language to bring their robots to life with a series of complex codes.

Participants will be challenged to get their robots to complete a 3D maze, a "copy-cat" choreography challenge and a robot car race. These practical activities are intended to not only keep our students motivated and amused but to also ensure high levels of engagement with the material.

Course Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will have:

  • Learned and worked with Raspberry Pi single board computers
  • Used Python programming language
  • Debated over ‘self-driving’ cars
  • Programmed robots to navigate a 3D maze

Topics covered

  • Setting up and testing the environment (hardware and software)
  • Several programming languages, including Raspberry Pi and Python
  • Conditional programming follows, statements and loops
  • Assembly of a robotic car and learning how to control each component
  • Practical and Theoretical elements of Robotics
  • Ultrasonic distance measurement
  • Learning to negotiate challenging mazes
  • The ethics of robotics

The table below gives an indication of the subject areas that will be covered in each day’s lecture and seminar. Although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, please note that topics and timings may be subject to change.

Day-by-Day Schedule

Week | Day Lesson Content
Week One | Monday - Welcome to robotics
- Setting up the environment (hardware and software)
- Testing the environment
Week One | Tuesday - Introduction to the Raspberry Pi
- Programming in Python
Week One | Wednesday - Conditional programming - Statements, Loops and more
- Functions and modules
- Robotic car assembly
Week One | Thursday - Sending instructions to the robot
- Controlling each component
- Running the motors
Week One | Friday - Driving and turning the robot
- Line detection
- Robotics Race Challenge
Week Two | Monday - Ultrasonic distance measurement using sensors
- Robot control, configuration and calibration
- Trying different manoeuvres
Week Two | Tuesday - Automatic line detection and following
- Robot Maze challenge
Week Two | Wednesday - Obstacle avoidance 1 - how to avoid collisions
- Obstacle avoidance 2 - what to do when a potential collision is detected
- 3D Maze Challenge
Week Two | Thursday - Controlling your robot remotely
- Testing remotely given instructions and responses
Week Two | Friday - Discussion: Autonomous cars
- Discussion: Robots and AI
- Debate: Are Robots Good For Humanity?
- Final workshop: Copy-Cat Robot Challenge

Take this course if...

Take this course if you have ever wanted to programme and control your own robot or you want to learn more about robotics in general.

Welcome to the City of Oxford - your home this summer

ORA Experience

Oxford is a city like no other, combining startlingly beautiful architecture with a buzzing, modern city centre, with superb shopping, restaurants, cafés and more. With the colleges of Oxford University at its heart, some almost 800 years old, it is a city steeped in history and academia.

Students on Oxford Royale's Oxford summer courses will have the chance to live, dine and study in this stunning city, exploring all of its major sites and discovering its hidden secrets. Through both organised trips to key landmarks and free time in the evenings, students will become acquainted with all that Oxford has to offer.

As students walk the cobbled streets and gaze up at the spires, gargoyles and honey-coloured stone buildings, they will be walking in the footsteps of some of the most influential figures in history, including prime ministers, presidents, Nobel prize-winning scientists, authors and more.

Why study in Oxford?
Why study in Oxford?
Why study in Oxford?

Useful information for students & parents


Students will be accommodated in comfortable single or twin rooms depending on their allocated college (please contact our registrations team if you would like more information on this). Twin rooms are strictly shared by students of the same gender, and males/females are separated by corridor and/or staircase. Accommodation is the standard for undergraduates studying at the university, so students are able to get a taste of what being an undergraduate student might be like at Oxford or Cambridge. Bathrooms are typically shared between students of the same gender, however in some cases en-suite facilities are available.

Pastoral care & student welfare

The programme is overseen by the Programme Director, who implements the day-to-day running of the programme. The Director is assisted by a team of Counsellors who very often are current members of the University of Oxford or University of Cambridge. The Counsellors ensure that students are looked after pastorally, culturally and socially during their programme. Students are able to talk informally and frankly to the Counsellors in order to raise concerns or to discuss their course. Each campus has members of staff who are residential throughout the programme and are able to assist students at any time of the day or night.

Eligibility & pre-requisites

Students on this course:

  • Must conform to our age policy.
  • Must be fluent or near-fluent English language speakers – if you are unsure whether your English level is suitable for this programme, please contact our Registrations Team on and they will be able to assist you.
  • Must be able to fulfil the basic requirements of the programme, in terms of attendance at lessons, meals and events. Please contact our Registrations Team for more detailed information.

Find out more

Find out more Immigration & Visas

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Find out more Arrival & Departure

Information about how to travel to and from an ORA summer course.

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Find out more Airport Transfers

Details of transfers between ORA and Heathrow Airport.

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Find out more FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

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Introduction to Robotics for Ages 13-15 is residential in the following locations:

(If your course takes place in more than one campus in the same city and you would like to know more about which location you will be allocated, please call our registrations team)

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