IRIS Wins ‘Educators Pick Best of STEM 2021’ Award for Earth Science

Organization offers real-world data and teaching resources to entice middle through college level students to study earthquakes

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 30, 2021) — The Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) was recently named a winner in the ‘Educators Pick Best of STEM 2021’ Awards in the Earth Science category. The awards, which are a combined effort of Catapult X, the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA), and MCH Strategic Data, are the only awards judged by STEM educators for STEM educators. IRIS was selected for its positive impact on student learning and STEM education in today’s schools.

IRIS entered three of its hundreds of educational resources for judging by STEM educators: the Station Monitor, an app where students can examine up-to-the-minute ground motion recorded by  local, regional, or global seismographs; the Layered Earth activity where students compare observed seismic data to predictions they make from a model to determine that the Earth must have a layered internal structure and to estimate the size of Earth’s core; and the IRIS Earthquake Browser, which lets students examine patterns of global, regional, and local seismicity by exploring millions of earthquake epicenters on an interactive map of the world.

Winners of the awards were chosen based on reviews by the educator judges, as well as by a popular vote by more than 2,500 educators. One educator judge said, “The IRIS Consortium offers comprehensive resources for Earth Science students from middle school all the way through University. It gives teachers access to seismological data students can analyze at home or in the classroom. And they are FREE!”

“Earthquakes capture students’ attention and our resources make data available to them so they can study physical phenomenon relevant to their world,” said Dr. Tammy Bravo, Seismology Outreach Specialist at IRIS. “Our tools were designed to save teachers time and to captivate students by giving them access to the same types of tools and data that working-scientists use to study our Earth. Winning this award is affirmation that we are accomplishing what we set out to do.”

All of this year’s award winners are featured on the Educators Pick Best of STEM, Catapult X, and NSTA websites. They will additionally be featured in the January 2022 issues of NSTA’s Science and Children, Science Scope, and The Science Teacher.

To learn more about IRIS and the tools it offers for education, visit

To learn more about Educators Pick Best of STEM and the 2021 winners and finalists, visit

About IRIS

The Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), a university consortium with more than 125 U.S. member institutions and the operator of the National Science Foundation’s Seismological Facility for the Advancement of Geoscience (SAGE), is a world leader in advancing discovery, research, and education in seismology to understand our planet and to benefit society. The organization operates global seismic networks, portable seismic instrumentation, and data access facilities. Additionally, it provides free educational resources for faculty and teachers, students, and the general public, including lesson plans, animations, animated gifs, earthquake data, wave visualizations, several easy-to-use online applications, and much more.

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