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Introduction to Robotics Ages 13-15

Oxford Summer School 2020
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 2020

  • 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 150 nationalities in 2019
  • 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 1 (Scroll right for week 2) Week 2
Monday Lesson 1: Welcome to Robotics, introductions and ambitions
Lesson 2: Setting up the environment and accessing the Raspberry Pi
Lesson 3: Building the robotic car
Lesson 15: PID and Calibration
Lesson 16: Manoeuvres and mazes
Tuesday Lesson 4: Introduction to Robot kit
Lesson 5: Programming and SAFE file handling
Lesson 17: Obstacle avoidance 1
Lesson 18: Obstacle avoidance 2
Wednesday Lesson 6: Conditional Statements
Lesson 7: Functions and Modules
Lesson 8: Mod-shop
Lesson 19: Assessment -Presentations
Lesson 20: Assessment – Presentations
Lesson 21: 3D Maze Challenge
Thursday Lesson 9: Using the sensors
Lesson 10: Controlling the motors
Lesson 22: Remotely controlling your robot
Lesson 23: Testing remote control options
Friday Lesson 11: Driving and Turning
Lesson 12: Line Detection
Lesson 13: Robotics Race
Lesson 24: Autonomous cars & the future
Lesson 25: Ethical Debate
Lesson 26: Robot art

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 [email protected] 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.

Our Teaching Faculty

At Oxford Royale Academy we are committed to providing our students with the most qualified and high-calibre teaching faculty available. All Oxford Royale Academy teachers are passionate about their subjects, and are looking forward to passing their knowledge on to their students this summer! For full details of last summer’s teaching faculty, please click here.

Guest Lectures & Debates

At ORA, we go the extra mile to enhance the study abroad experience of our students. As part of this, every year our dedicated Events Team organises a series of fascinating guest lectures. Guest speakers come from a wide range of backgrounds and specialisms, including the worlds of online media, television and academia. Our students also have the opportunity to watch and participate in a number of debates, which take place on campus. These range from formal Panel Debates, involving teaching faculty and other staff, to informal discussions about current “hot topics” led by Counsellors.

Coach Excursions

The United Kingdom has a rich cultural heritage, and a course with Oxford Royale Academy is the perfect way for a young learner to explore this. All ORA courses include at least one coach excursion to places of historical and social significance in the UK.

Extracurricular Activities

At ORA, we never forget that our students are on holiday! Included with every ORA course is an extra-curricular timetable, carefully designed by our dedicated Events Team to ensure our students have fun, make friends and get the most out of their time with us.

Find out more

Find out more Immigration & Visas

Information and advice on securing your student visa.

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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 venues:

(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 admissions team)

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