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Hi Laura!
Tough times indeed during emergency remote learning… especially for students who have struggled in the past.
In this case, it would appear that this student is not grasping a conceptual understanding of area.
For example:
 could this student approximate how many “squares” (inch squares, centimetre squares, etc.) it would take to “cover” the triangle?
 does he understand that the area of the triangle is half of the area of a rectangle with the same length and height of the triangle?
 etc.?
Just some thoughts on how one might go back to work on the conceptual piece as memorizing an algorithm is not going to help this student for very long.
A set of visual prompts that might help you on Math Is Visual can be found here:
http://mathisvisual.com/arearectangle/
What are your thoughts?