What is BASIS?

Bay Area Scientists in Schools (BASIS) is a science and engineering volunteer program for public elementary schools in Berkeley, Oakland, and West Contra Costa County. We offer teachers and students an opportunity to interact with real-life scientists and engineers as well as dig in to hands-on science and engineering activities! Volunteers learn how to communicate science to a broader audience and spread their love of science.

The goals of BASIS are to connect a diverse range of scientist volunteers to elementary and middle school students and teachers, to inspire students with examples of real-world science careers and issues, to engage students in hands-on, inquiry based learning experiences, and to create effective teaching links between scientists and public elementary schools.

How Does BASIS Work?

CRS works with BASIS volunteers from nearby UC Berkeley as well as labs, workplaces and homes to develop hands-on activities that are age-appropriate and based in the California science standards (Next Generation  Science Standards), or to train scientists to present existing, in-demand lessons from our library (including materials).  Scientists then select dates and times that they are available to visit classrooms to make lesson presentations, and teachers are invited to sign up for presentations as they become available. 

As a volunteer, you will learn how to effectively communicate science and engineering ideas to students. We will help you get set up with a lesson plan and materials to teach. You can either teach in a team or go solo! We can even connect you with other volunteers with similar interests in order to form a team. We're flexible and will work with you to handle all the scheduling logistics to fit your availability.

Want to see a BASIS lesson in action? Check out our YouTube BASIS Lesson Playlist!

Ready to Become a BASIS Volunteer?

Check out our training and placement process and sign up for an orientation here.

More Volunteer Resources:

  • Check out our extensive, kid-tested Lesson Plan Archive to see what kinds of lessons are available to use!
  • Want to create your own lesson or learn more about classroom and materials management? Take a look at our Volunteer Tools page.
  • Still curious about BASIS? Check out our FAQ page for more information.

If you are part of a student group at UC Berkeley and are interested in getting a specialized group orientation, email our Program Manager at teach@crscience.org.