Code Quest

 Play Code Quest on PBS Kids!

In this online coding adventure, youth take Subby the submarine through underwater challenges, using code to find various items on the ocean floor.


The players work with Izzie and Jake, SciGirls’ animated characters, as they become helpers at their local Aquarium to research and create a new ocean reef exhibit. Youth code Subby the submarine to collect information about the animals and habitats living in the reef. Fish, plankton, sea stars, jellyfish, octopuses, rays and sharks are found in the reef along with garbage, pollution, and plastic. Youth help clean up the reef while gathering information for the exhibit, all with Izzie and Jake along to guide them.

Youth will move Subby through the reef via simple block programming. Visual and audio cues are used to help youth learn and discover how to code! Youth are slowly introduced to new computational thinking concepts as they progress through more advanced levels. In a classroom setting, headphones may be preferred. Otherwise, sound can be muted and all audio cues have closed captions.

Code Quest is an online game on the PBS kids website. No download or sign-in is required. This game will work on all modern web browsers using computers or tablets (phone screens may be too small to be able to use and move the blocks and features in the game).


Here’s How:

1. Discuss. Have a discussion with youth about how computer programming can be useful in all sorts of subject areas! Today they are going to play an online game about using an underwater submarine named Subby to study a reef habitat. They have to use code to make Subby move and collect scientific data!

2. Pair Programming. Divide youth into pairs and explain how pair programming works. Show youth this video to learn about pair programming. Set ground rules and figure out the best way to switch pair programming roles (ex: set a timer, switch after each level, etc). Even if you have enough devices for students to work alone, pair programming is an excellent strategy for teaching collaboration, problem solving, team work, and communication!

3. Play the game! Direct students to the website to play the game. Be sure to point out that the game has audio instructions (with closed captions), visual cues, and additional hints might pop up if they are getting stuck (many levels also have an additional hint if you click on the picture of Izzie or Jake). Encourage pairs to get as far as they can in the game with the time they have!

4. Debrief and Celebrate! Have a discussion with youth about what they learned. Celebrate the hard parts as accomplishments. Focus on what they learned, not which levels they finished.

If your group was using this as an Hour of Code activity, be sure to print out certificates for each student at

Code Quest Teacher’s Guide 

Optional add-on activities

· Watch an episode of SciGirls that focuses on coding and learning about wildlife:  High Tech Tide

· Allow youth more time to play the game

· Do an unplugged activity that teaches an aspect of computer science:

· Introduce youth to careers that incorporate computer science by watching a Role Model Video: