• Illinois’ current science standards became effective in February 2014 and are based on the Next Generation Science Standards. These standards focus on the big ideas in science, and emphasize the common practices that scientists use every day, such as planning investigations, developing models, and designing solutions. They encourage students to learn the processes of science in a deep, meaningful way through first-hand investigative experiences, instead of just memorizing facts for a test. Hands-on experimentation and instruction are used to give students scientific knowledge and skills in the areas of earth, life, and physical science. Safety goggles and eye wash stations are provided in the classrooms where the hands-on experiments are conducted.