What is BASIS?

Bay Area Scientists in Schools (BASIS) is a science and engineering volunteer program for over 100 public elementary schools in Berkeley, Oakland, and West Contra Costa County. We offer teachers and students the opportunity to interact with real-life scientists and engineers, while digging into hands-on science and engineering activities. We also help volunteers learn to communicate their research to a broader audience, and share their love of science with the next generation!

With the support of over 500 volunteers, BASIS aims to: 

  • Connect a diverse range of scientist volunteers to elementary school students and teachers
  • Inspire students with examples of real-world science careers and issues
  • Engage students in hands-on, inquiry-based learning experiences
  • Create effective teaching links between scientists and public elementary schools

How Does BASIS Work?

CRS works with BASIS volunteers from UC Berkeley and from Bay Area labs, workplaces and homes to bring hands-on science lessons to local elementary schools.

We train scientists and engineers on fun, hands-on lessons from our Lesson Plan Archive, which we help volunteers tweak around their specific STEM interests. We also help volunteers get set up with all the materials they need to teach, and we train them on classroom management and communication. Volunteers have the option of teaching in a team (which we can help you form), or going solo. Experienced volunteers also have the option to be trained to develop a new lesson of their own.

Once scientists are trained, they select dates and times they're available to visit classrooms to make lesson presentations. CRS handles all the scheduling logistics to fit scientists' availability. Teachers are invited to sign up for presentations as they become available. 

As a volunteer, you'll join over 500 BASIS volunteers in learning how to effectively communicate science and engineering ideas to students. You'll get practice in explaining your research to young minds, and you'll make an important broader impact with your work!

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 kid-tested Lesson Plan Archive to see what kinds of lessons are available to teach!
  • Want to learn more about elementary science education and classroom management? Take a look at our Volunteer Tools page.
  • Still have questions? Check out our FAQ page for more information, or email the BASIS Program Manager.

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.