The Squire

May 2020

Westbrook Middle School

Taylor P. Wrye, Principal

Amy Gallagher, Lead Teacher

Principal's Desk

Dear Westbrook Families,

These last couple of months have been unprecedented to say the least. Six weeks ago the Commissioner of Education announced the switch to distance learning with little preparation time for parents, students, and teachers. I can confidently say that Westbrook Middle School made the transition smoothly, as students and teachers were already familiar with Google Classroom and the other digital tools that we use to deliver instruction. Talking with other Principals in the area, it is apparent that Westbrook is ahead of many of the other towns and districts in resuming the learning process. We should all be very proud of this hard work. Your children are receiving the same high-quality educational experience that you have always expected from Westbrook Middle School.

As you read The Squire, I encourage you to look at all the available student work examples in each class. These examples highlight the hard work teachers have put in creating lessons and the hard work students have put in learning. I am fortunate to be able to jump into every Westbrook Middle School Google classroom to see what is happening first hand, and am so impressed with what we have all accomplished!

Going forward, I want to reinforce that communication is critical to ensure that distance learning is successful for everyone. Communication between school and home is needed now more than ever as we continue distance learning. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to your children's teachers, as they are always available in the afternoon to talk with you. We have a fantastic support staff that is happy to speak with you and your children as we deal with the uncertainties of the future educational landscape in this pandemic. We are here for you.


Taylor Wrye

March Student of the Month

Anjali C. -Health, Victoria T.-PE, Thomas T.-F/C, Aiden O.-Grade 6, Sonora S.-Chorus, Miles H.-Band, Brynn H.-Art, Bianca N.-Library, Anna L.-Grade 5, Trevor J.-Grade 8, Lillian B.-Spanish, Drew X.-Spanish, Amy C.-Tech, Jack O.-Grade 7, Megan B.-French, and Karl S.-Computer Science.
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Guidance is always here to help. Use the following link to schedule an appointment to speak with any of the amazing counselors.

The transition & course selection process for grade 8 students will begin shortly, with more information to follow from high school!

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The grade 6 team would like to thank you for your support and patience during this difficult time. We hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy.

Language Arts

In language arts, students wrote thank you letters to a person or organization of their choice. Students selected local hospitals, doctors, nurses, grocery store employees and other “essential employees” or “first responders” who are on the front lines! This was to remind students that there are so many people working to allow others to stay safely at home. Additionally, students are creating a primary source journal, writing about the different experiences they are having during this unprecedented time. This will allow them to share these memories with others after the pandemic is long over. It is our hope that these journals will be passed on through the years and allow families to see what life was like in 2020! As a footnote, this assignment will be graded as a quiz and shared with the class. Finally, the 6th graders are coming to the end of a dystopian unit. Dystopian stories take place in a futuristic society where there is severe injustice— perhaps a corrupt government, dehumanizing technological advances, limited basic resources, or an environmental disaster. Dystopian stories are a very popular genre among middle schoolers! Moving forward, we will continue to read high interest short stories, and poems, and the students will also be required to use IXL to continue their work on grammar skills.


In science, we spent the last weeks in March and the first couple in April wrapping up the Weather Unit. Students produced visuals for the concepts learned and discussed throughout the unit. After our break week, we spent time acknowledging Earth Day, looking at some of the ways to honor our Earth. Students spent class sessions creating projects that focus on Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling.

Social Studies

These students have successfully scaled Mount Everest in their homes!! It’s great to see two students working with a team, because that’s what it takes to make it to the summit. One team is in the process of scaling the mountain, while the other is hunkered down for the night at Camp III. Fortunately, the other student survived the violent avalanche that brought him down a little above Camp II. Thank Goodness he survived and made it to the summit!!!!!! Congratulations to you three, and all of the others who successfully climbed their stairs!!!!

Keep up the great work everyone!!!

Again, thank you, parents, for being so patient and understanding during this time!! The Sixth Grade Team is striving to create a fun and interesting learning environment, and so far, so good!


In math we finished up our Statistics Unit. We discovered that data is gathered by a special kind of question called a statistical question. A question has to be asked in such a way that data can be collected. The questions on the US Census are statistical questions. Students watched a video about the Census as it relates to them. We are now working on a Geometry Unit leading up to finding areas of certain shapes.


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We have spent the last six weeks of distance learning working on the argumentative essay writing process. All students researched the benefits and drawbacks of children playing competitive sports, took notes in a pro/con graphic organizer, critically analyzed their evidence, made a claim, chose three main arguments with three pieces of cited evidence to support each argument, as well as thought about the opposing viewpoint with counterclaims/rebuttals. Students then wrote their essays, with teacher feedback along the way. Librarian Mrs. Goad joined us twice in class to help with in-text citations and works cited pages. We will wrap up this writing unit during the first week of May and then start our poetry unit!
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We began our Geometry Unit with our focus on two-dimensional figures. The students learned how to name and classify angles, as well as angle relationships. The students used their knowledge of rational numbers and two-step equations to solve for the missing angle or a variable. The students will continue their study of two-dimensional figures in May with focus on area and perimeter of triangles, special quadrilaterals, and circles.


We are currently studying the rock cycle, volcanoes, and earthquakes. Students are conducting research about the history and characteristics of a volcano and will present their work to the class. Some students may even choose to build a volcano! From there, we will study water resources and human impact on the environment.

Video created by Alexa K.:

Social Studies

We ended Quarter 3 by wrapping up our unit on Eastern Europe. As a culminating project, students selected one aspect of the Chernobyl accident to investigate. In small groups, students researched and presented their findings. Topics included causes of accident, roles of first responders, effects on the ecosystem, effects on humans, communication of this event, and Chernobyl today, including tourism and people who live in and around the exclusion zone. Finally, students investigated how the accident at Chernobyl and other factors led to the fall of the Soviet Union. Quarter 4 has focused on our new unit, Central America. We have explored the physical geography of this region as well as a brief history of some of the Native Americans living there before the arrival of Europeans. Most recently we discussed the causes, consequences, and legacy of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the Caribbean, including the Columbian Exchange. Throughout our time of remote learning, students have been engaged in live lessons and have had many opportunities to interact with members of our class. In addition to students being able to log into their textbook online, other popular online tools include Peardeck, Padlet, Brainpop, EdPuzzle, and an assortment of review games and quizzes. Everyday is an adventure!



Eighth grade math students have adjusted well to distance learning as they continue to build their knowledge of Linear Relationships. Since making the transition to the online format, students have become proficient at using Google Classroom, Google Hangouts and IXL assignments to learn about slope, y-intercepts, and the slope-intercept form of a linear equation. They are currently studying linear functions and solidifying their understanding of two-variable relationships.

Algebra I students completed their study of Systems of Linear Equations as they made the transition to the online learning environment. Students have adapted to submitting pictures of their notebooks in order to receive feedback about their assignments. This week they wrapped up their study of Inequalities, and they have just begun the last unit of the curriculum, Polynomials, Factoring and an Introduction to Quadratics.

Learning environments and methods of communication have changed drastically during the last two months, but because students have a solid foundation of math skills and learning experiences to draw upon, they have been able to adapt successfully. I am proud of the progress the eighth graders have made while showing great resiliency during this unprecedented time.


Science has smoothly transitioned to distance learning. We are working hard to blend our science content with classwork, computer work, and “get outside and do” work! Our current unit, “Human Impact on Earth’s Climate” has offered us a great opportunity to appreciate our surroundings and what Earth has to offer us! We are doing this while completing a project to raise awareness about how plastic pollution is impacting Earth. (Apologies if your children are criticizing your plastic use at home!) Students created either an infographic or video to express concerns and solutions for our plastic problem. The students have amazed me with their skills, passion, and creativity! Enjoy examples below. Next we turn to the sun, Earth, and moon to learn about how gravity and inertia keep us in orbit. As I tell my students all the time, science is ALL around us. Please, take time to go outside, breathe, move, enjoy the fresh air, flowers blooming, and the baby birds hatching. It’s good for all of us! Miss you all, stay well.

<3 Mrs. Ouellette

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Social Studies

Hello Students and Parents!

Grade 8 social studies classes have been focusing on the Great Depression over the past few weeks. We compared economic conditions during the 1930s to present day (what timing!), and we used primary sources, such as Dorothea Lange's photographs, to observe the conditions of life during that time. Students created their own primary source collection in order to document life conditions of a middle school student during the Covid-19 pandemic. Our next area of study is World War II. We will continue to work on our historical thinking skills while understanding the immediate and longer-term effects of the War.


Our first four weeks of distance learning have been very successful in 8th-grade English. Students have been engaging in a poetry analysis unit where they have listened to a wide-variety of classic poetry and more modern spoken word poetry. Students have been learning how to analyze poems by interpreting figurative language and other poetic craft moves that poets make. Mrs. Fredrickson has been very impressed with students' engagement and overall work ethic as we have transitioned class online.

Please reach out if you need help getting access to independent reading books. Students have 2-3 hours each week to read their independent reading books or to get extra help from their teachers during Academic Enrichment. Keeping students reading will be essential to preventing learning loss!


Spanish Señora Ferro

6th Grade Spanish with Sra. Ferro

Students are currently learning how to tell the time in Spanish. They will be talking about their school schedules, saying at what time their classes meet, and what they like to do. Students will be closing out the year by learning the verb to have (Tener) and saying what they have to do (Tener Que.) They will also learn the present tense of ~AR verbs. Students have been doing lots of Flipgrids for speaking, Interactive Digital Notebooks, Edpuzzles, Peardecks, and many other online tools to help them succeed in Spanish. Keep up the great work!

La Hora Project -

La Hora WS

La Hora, Los Números, Las Materias

8th Grade Spanish with Sra. Ferro

Students are currently learning how to invite friends to different places such as an aquarium, amusement park, zoo, fair, decline/accept invites, and telephone vocabulary. We will be starting the past tense of ir, hacer, and ser next week. We will finish the year by studying the present progressive tense, reflexive verbs and daily routines.

Students have been doing lots of Flipgrids for speaking, Interactive Digital Notebooks, Edpuzzles, Peardecks, and many other online tools to help them succeed in Spanish. Keep up the great work!

Un Día en el Parque de Diversiones

8th Grade: El Día en el Parque de Diversiones: Texting assignment

Un Día en el Parque de diversiones

Spanish - Señora Cassidy

5th Grade

Semester 2 students are getting really good at online projects! They have done the weather forecast and now are working on creating dinner party invitations to send to their guests. Distance Learning has been going well and I’m very proud of all of them!

6th Grade

Students were able to make an easy transition to Distance Learning. We have great group chats and work together in the Target Language learning how to conjugate AR verbs in the present tense.

7th Grade

Students are incorporating all previously learned material from the classroom and are applying it online. They are doing incredible work with vocabulary and grammar with the use of many different Distance Learning tools. Keep up the good work!

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Grade 5: Students will learn numbers 50-100 and more advanced grade-level conversational vocabulary as well as be exposed to additional aspects of French culture. To conclude the semester, students will work on a slideshow project about an aspect of French culture they would like to explore or are curious about.

Examples of such topics: French desserts, the Eiffel Tower, French comics, fun places to visit in Paris, beautiful places to visit in France outside of Paris (Mont St. Michel, Annecy, St. Tropez) and in the rest of the French-speaking world, French advanced technologies (such as the TGV, the Concorde airplane, the Minitel), most popular sports in France, famous historical and scientific figures (such as Louis XIV, Charlemagne, Lavoisier and Pasteur), French fashion and French art/artists (such as Monet, Renoir).

Grade 6: Students will shortly wrap up the unit on the body parts. They will then begin a new unit on daily activities and likes and dislikes in which they will learn to conjugate ER verbs. Students will learn more sophisticated ways to express themselves in the language by acquiring the foundations of how to make complete sentences and using the negative form. The school year will end with a fun project where students will be able to display their newly acquired skills.

Grade 7: Students have learned to describe people (physically and personality traits) and will learn to talk about their family and ask questions about someone else’s family. Near the end of the marking period students will do a presentation about their family in a format yet to be determined.

Grade 8: Students will shortly end the review of the first 5 units of the course. They are currently working on a slideshow project in which they have to demonstrate their ability a) to ask and answer questions appropriately b) construct complete and proper sentences using as many of the structures they have learned so far. Onward, students will start a new food unit in which they will learn to offer, accept and refuse food, ask for and give an opinion, etc. All of this review and learning will help students to transition successfully to French 2 next year.


Library News

Perfect Time to Try Audio and E-Books – With extra time to read or bing-read a series, the problem becomes how to get the books! Students are encouraged to check out the bookshelves around the house for books older siblings enjoyed in middle school, classics, or those purchased and forgotten from the book fair! Another alternative is to download an audio or e-book from a number of sources. There is a listing of various places that are offering free downloads below in each grade level Library Classroom. All grades have a Google Classroom for Library. Here, students will find book talks, links to the websites offering free books, as well as tutorials on how to access. It’s amazing how quickly you can “read” an audio book while busy doing another activity. Try doing your chores to a book and the time will fly by!

Reading Sources

Access through Westbrook Public Library and your library card free audio and e-books using Libby app or Overdrive. View the tutorial on your Library Google Classroom.

Here are additional free options:

Use access code when registering: ctstatelib20

Voting for the 2020 NBA! – It’s that time of year again! Our students, along with students across the state, have been voting for their favorite 2020 Nutmeg Book Award nominees. Authors are anxiously waiting to see if their books is the winner in the different grade categories: Intermediate (Grades 4 – 6) and Middle(Grades 7 & 8). We have students that have also read from the Teen (high school) category! A few of the books have sequels to continue the adventure. is offering free access to their audio and e-books. All the current Nutmeg books are shown together when you open the page.
Creating Primary Sources Students are aware of the various primary sources, those first-hand accounts in various mediums, when doing research. Examples are interviews, original documents, such as letters, postcards, newspaper articles, photographs, artwork, diaries or journals). Yes, journals, first-hand accounts from an event or a specific time in history! Students are given a journal question to answer in the Library Classroom. Using a Google Slide template students answer the question, date the journal entry (slide), and include an image. Many students are taking the assignment a step further by adding additional entries to detail these days of distancing. Although these are difficult times, our students seem to be enjoying some of the simple things of playing games, cooking and baking, exercising, as well as learning a new craft with their families. You never know, years from now, these journals could be the start of an author’s research for their historical fiction best seller!

Students are given a Google Meet link during their Academic Enrichment time to ask questions, get help on projects, inquire about book recommendations, or share what they are reading. Coming soon to Library Classroom…read alouds of some great books to listen during AE or anytime. Please contact me with any questions.

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”

– Mason Cooley

Happy Reading!

Mrs. Goad

Family Consumer Science

It is my foremost wish that you are safe & healthy during these unprecedented times. I hope you are finding the blessings in these days & the silver linings in each cloud. I believe we will emerge from this stronger, together.

The shift to online education has been a new challenge for us all. I hope it has not been too maddening for you as parents.

I have been amazed by the great work your kids have submitted. My goal, always, is to increase their wellness & autonomy. Watching students build skill & gow is the most profound part of my job.

We are in our foods unit in FCS. I alternate between giving them content relating to wellness & nutrition with asking them to prepare food. Anything that resembles what I asked them to do receives full credit.

Please reach out to me with any thoughts on how I can do a better job delivering content to your kids.

In wellness,

Erik Becker


Current pop artist Romero Britto said, "Art is too important not to share." Our elearning has given us the opportunity to share our projects.

Grade 5 has been busy completing an array of assignments. They began by completing Piet Mondrain Animals. This project is inspired by Abstract artist Piet Mondrain. Mondrian used line and color to evoke feeling, similar to artist Wassily Kandinsky. His paintings are now printed on Nike sneakers and dresses in fashion shows.

Students then started working on negative/positive space pictures where they learned how to manipulate objects in the foreground background.

Grade 6 began working on Optical illusion Art. They learned how to create the illusion of going back and forth in a work of art. This type of art fools the eye and is fun to see the end product! Additionally, students learned about artist Bridget Riley, famous for her optical illusion works of art.

Students then began Henri Rousseau jungle pictures. They were able to draw an animal of their choosing, surrounded by overlapping jungle leaves, a famous trait of Rousseau's works.

Grade 7 eagerly started american artist Francis Livingstone ice cream pictures. This was a fun assignment where students created large sundae's with a variety of toppings. They also had the challenge of creating movement in this project by having their ice cream drip, or toppings falling off.

Grade 7 then began working on nature scenes inspired by reflection. All students did a wonderful job!

Grade 8 started working on their Wassily Kandinsky renditions, a project we learned about in school. Students used line, shape, color and hidden imagery to make up their drawings. 8th grade then practiced value and shading by drawing a realistic apple. They looked very real! Job well done.

I can't wait to see what we all produce next!

-Mrs. Cole

Music Corner

From Chorus:

We have been very busy in the Virtual Chorus Classroom. We have spent time learning to use our technology to continue making music together and are creating a vocabulary so we can discuss music together. We have continued to work on our sight-reading skills over the past few weeks with some classes focusing on Rhythm, while others focus on pitch.

We have laid the groundwork and are now embarking on our first attempt at a virtual choir. Students will be recording then submitting parts of their songs. We will be editing, listening and analyzing details of our performances, in the hopes of turning out a final product with attention to musical detail and using strong vocal technique.

From Band:

The instrumental program hasn’t missed a beat! We are moving forward in our method books and continuing to build momentum. Students are practicing and uploading étude recordings from home and are receiving feedback via Google Classroom. The virtual classroom, while different, allows students the ability to gain skill and understanding as instrumentalists.

In early March, prior to schools closing, several students from Chorus and Band went to North Branford Intermediate School to participate in the Southern Region Music Festival.

Here they are before leaving for the first rehearsal.

Health & PE with Mr. Gombos

Physical Education

In PE for grades 5 and 8 we have had weeks of logging fitness challenges and now have transitioned to the students creating their own fitness program. With feedback, I hope that week by week these get better. I hope that in these times of increased family time your students may take the time to challenge you. below is a great family workout challenge.

How to Create a Full-Body Deck of Cards Workout

6th Grade Health:

We have been keeping aligned with the curriculum and will hit all the state mandates for the year. Currently, each student is developing their understanding of communicable diseases and making a presentation for the other students to see. If your student needs any help I am available through a daily meet up link and or email every day.

8th Grade Health

In 8th-grade we have been keeping aligned with the curriculum and will also hit all the state mandates for the year. If your student needs any help I am available through a daily meet up link and or email every day. Currently, each student is developing their understanding of the opioid crisis and the dangers of vaping. A great resource that the kids will be exploring this week is

Health & PE with Mr. Marshall

Physical Education

Distance physical education grades 6-7 looks like a journal of activity for the week. The students are simply asked to submit a log that is provided on a weekly basis via google classroom. They should have one log per day that they have phys ed that week so there should be 2-3 per week. They do not need to do this activity during the actual class time either so if the day is going to be nicer in the afternoon feel free to use that time for their exercise. I also encourage creative exercise. They can do any form of physical activity that they wish. I am always available so please email me with any questions and I would be happy to help.

Grade 8 Health

In grade 8 health we are finishing up diseases and will be starting to review CPR. Students have all their assignments on google classroom. All grades are up to date in PowerSchool so please reference that to see if they are completing the assignments and email me if you have any questions.

Grade 5 Health

In 5th grade health, the students have finished learning about communicable vs noncommunicable diseases and are beginning to learn about hygiene. They did a public service announcement about how to properly wash your hands on flipgrid so ask your student to check that out, some of them were very creative. We will be moving on to CPR and first aid and your students will have videos to use so feel free to jump in and learn with them. This is a lifesaving skill that every person should know.

Computer Science

Greetings from the Virtual Computer Lab. Our students have been continuing to work hard on their learning, and I am very proud of the progress. Our 5th graders have been learning about what makes a computer a computer including the four data functions that a computer must be able to do. They have been learning about the different hardware devices that a computer uses to input and output data, and soon we will be looking at the hardware used to process and store data. We’ve also been spending some time on playing with loops and sprites. The students had to code a virtual fishtank and came up with some fun ideas. Here are a few samples:

Ethan B

Evan L

Keily V

The 6th graders are continuing to build their personal websites. They have finished adding content with html and have started to add CSS to make their websites look exactly the way they want. We’ve been learning about Creative Commons, Copyright licenses, and how to use other people’s creative works legally and ethically. Here are a few of their fabulous websites:

Conner J

Stella B

Evan B

Katie F

Kyle L

The 7th graders have been diving into Javascript using Blockly. Each student has learned how to create and control sprites. They’ve learned how to add movement and conditionals and most students have finished working on a basic animation. Here are a few:

Emily B.

Jack O.

Kimberly B.

Emily P.

Karl S.

Tanyon C.

Meanwhile the 8th graders have been delving into the world of data analysis and big data to try and see how important data is to our everyday lives. I’ve also challenged them to create either a video compilation or a short animation. I’m hoping to share some of those videos with you next time!

STEAM with Mr. Abbott

STEAM- Technology Education student assignments

This is a small sample of Distance learning assignments and student work.

1 - Ricky Spears Ruler Game- All Grades

Instructions: You are practicing using Ricky spears ruler game again. However, You are measuring using ⅛ inch increments.

2- Cell Phone Fun Facts Grade 5

Your Mission:

1) Create a google doc that has a picture of your cool cell phone on the front page. (Good Luck, How do you take a picture of your cell phone with your cell phone)

2) List 20 Fun Facts about the cell phone, use the website provided.

  1. In 1983, the first mobile phones went on sale in the U.S. at almost $4,000 each.

  2. Apple sold 572,000 iphones per day in 2018.

  3. The very first mobile phone call was in 1973 by Martin Cooper, a former Motorola inventor.

  4. 100,000 mobile phones are dropped down the toilet in Britain every year.

  5. Nomophobia is the fear of being without your phone or losing your signal.

  6. More people in the world have mobile phones than toilets.

  7. China has more internet users on mobile devices than on PCs.

  8. The average person unlocks his or her smartphone 110 times each day.

  9. 61% of Americans say they text while driving.

  10. It costs less than $1 a year to keep your smartphone charged up.

  11. Apple’s iphone has higher sales than everything Microsoft has to offer.

  12. Over 250 million Nokia 1100 devices were sold, making it the best selling electrical gadget in history.

  13. So many Facebook photos and videos are uploaded via mobile that it takes up 27% of upstream web traffic.

  14. 65% of smartphone users download zero apps per month.

  15. In Malaysia, it’s legal to divorce your partner via text message.

  16. The world’s most expensive iphone 5 was worth $15 million.

  17. IBM sold a smartphone with a touchscreen display that could send emails and run third party apps already in 1994.

  18. More Africans have access to cell phone service than piped water and electricity.

  19. Phubbing is a new word meaning ignoring your friends in favour of your mobile phone.

  20. Student X does not own a cell phone!

3 - Infographic - All Grades

Your assignment is to make an infographic about the current Coronavirus. Include things to avoid and ways to stay healthy and safe. Please use your own ideas and individual creativity!

4- Grade 5 Flight Activity

Here is your chance! You always liked to make paper airplanes, now you can do it for credit!

Follow the instructions and have fun! *** USE KAMI to write in the PDF> to answer questions.

1. Please watch the video called, "What factors affect the flight of an airplane?"

2. Please watch the video on making a paper airplane.

3. Follow the directions to make a paper airplane in the video above.

This will be airplane #1.

4. Find directions ( Research on-line) to make another paper airplane of your choice.

This will be airplane #2

5. Complete the activity on the google doc below. Please answer in complete sentences.

6. Upload pictures and/or videos of your paper airplanes and attach them to your document. (You need two pictures or more of Airplane #1 and Airplane #2.)

5. The Evolution of the Computer

There are 4 parts to the assignment.

PART 1: Read the first article: What are the parts of a computer ?

PART 2: Watch the video, CPU, Memory, Inputs and Outputs.

Part 3: Read the article about Input and Output Devices.

Part 4 : Answer the questions ( Fill in the blank) in the document provided.

*** Important, use the left sidebar to navigate to specific pages on this website.******

Click the link below:

Computer Questions - Student Work

Parts of a Computer: Article 1: At a high level, all computers are made up of a processor (CPU), memory, and input/ output devices. Each computer receives input from a variety of devices, processes that data with the CPU and memory, and sends results to some form of output. Input devices: Article 2 The very first computers only accepted "punch cards" as input. The most common input devices are the keyboard, mouse, and touch screen. Computers also receive input from their environment using "sensors". There are hundreds of other input devices, like microphones to capture sound waves, scanners to capture image data, and virtual reality devices to capture our body movements. Output devices: Article 2 Once the CPU is done processing the data, it often needs to output a result. A standard output device is the monitor.