Bay Area Scientists in Schools

Bay Area Scientists in Schools (BASIS) is a CRS program that provides free, in-class science lessons led by diverse, enthusiastic scientists and engineers who volunteer their time to inspire students to envision themselves as scientists, to engage students in hands-on, inquiry based learning experiences, and to help teachers discover ways to make science interactive and fun!
These presentations are available to public elementary teachers who are CRS members in the East Bay, primarily along the corridor from Pinole to Oakland. If you are not a CRS member, learn about our membership services and how to become a member.

BASIS volunteers are scientists, engineers, and other STEM professionals, including graduate students and post-docs at UC Berkeley, and employees from local science-based companies. CRS recruits, prepares, and coaches these volunteers to be effective ambassadors for science teaching and learning. They bring exciting one-hour lessons directly into classrooms, engaging students in hands-on investigations and engineering challenges that are age-appropriate and aligned to standards. Visit the full library of BASIS lessons, including downloadable lesson plans for teachers.

CRS member teachers receive invitations to host a BASIS presentation as they become available throughout the year.

*For CRS members: If you are looking for scientist volunteers to help with science fair judging or with science activities during a family science event, please make a request and we will do our best to connect you with volunteers.

Want a BASIS team to come to your classroom? Here’s how it works:

  1. Watch your email! As BASIS teams notify us of their availability, CRS sends email invitations to eligible teacher members at the appropriate grade level for specific dates and times. (e.g. invitations for 3rd grade BASIS lessons are sent out only to 3rd grade teachers).  
  2. Reply promptly! Presentations are scheduled generally on first come, first served basis. Because demand for BASIS presentations often exceeds supply, we give priority to teachers who have not yet received a lesson during the current school year.
  3. Watch your email again! We will send you EITHER a confirmation or a notice that you have been put on the wait list. If you do not get a lesson scheduled, you will have priority when the next lessons for your grade level become available.

If you are already a CRS member, but have not been receiving invitations to sign up for BASIS lessons, please contact It is possible that we do not have a current email address for you!

BASIS presentations are free for our teacher members! Here’s all we ask of you, to make it a smooth process for everyone:

Good communication is vital to the success of BASIS presentations.  We ask that teachers follow these steps to ensure a smooth and successful BASIS experience for themselves, their students, and our volunteers!

  1. When you get the presentation confirmation email, please add the BASIS visit to your calendar right away! The volunteers will also get an email confirming the visit, including teacher and school name, date, and time for the BASIS lesson.
  2. Prior to the visit, we ask the BASIS team and teacher to have a brief phone or email check in to confirm some key details that we have discovered are essential to making the day a success. It is quick but important. Your BASIS team leader should send you an email or phone call, so please respond! If you have not heard from your team (thanks, spam filters!) a week or so before the visit, please contact them directly using the info on your confirmation email.
  3. We’ll send a reminder email to both you and the BASIS volunteer about a week in advance of the scheduled class visit.
  4. Please do not schedule a substitute teacher during a volunteer visit. You must remain in the classroom when hosting a BASIS volunteer. Scientists and engineers will be able to focus on providing your students with a great learning experience when teachers are on hand to participate and assist as needed.
  5. Please fill out the brief, post-presentation evaluation using the link provided in the follow-up email we’ll send you. This feedback helps keep our program, in the words of teachers, “amazing, outstanding, engaging, and invaluable!”
  6. Remember that CRS is here to support your teaching! We're happy to suggest follow-up activities, websites, or other resources to build on what your students learn during the presentation.