Envisioning Southeast Asia

LESSON 2 : The Southeast Asian Games: History, sports
and community building in Southeast Asia

This lesson is an introduction to the history of the SEA Games and its key themes and features and a discussion of how the SEA Games helped in community building at national and regional levels.

Subject History / Social Studies
Topic The Southeast Asian Games: History, sports and community-building in Southeast Asia
Key idea Regional identity in Southeast Asia can and has been created out of diversities and commonalities by regional organizations and through regional events as well as everyday activities such as popular sports, art, and culture. This identity is continuously evolving and contributes toward the envisioning of Southeast Asia as a region for the future.
The SEA Games originated from the SEAP Games, which were first introduced in 1958. The introduction of the SEAP Games in Southeast Asia was influenced by political, social and cultural factors in the 1950s.
Key concepts Games
Level Lower secondary
No. of periods / lessons 2 to 3 periods (1 period is approximately 50 minutes)
Facilities needed A/V equipment and Internet access to play the video clips (or hard copy with similar content)
Sources and handouts for distribution
Prerequisite knowledge Students should know about some international sports competitions in the world and have some background about ASEAN.

Learning objectives
By the end of the lesson, the students will be able to:

  1. Describe the evolutionary development
    from the Southeast Asian Peninsular (SEAP)
    to Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
  2. Discuss the factors that played important role in the development of the SEA Games.
  1. Analyze how a public spectacle such as the SEA Games help in building communities at the national and regional levels.
  2. Develop skills in team work, analysis and communication.
  1. Appreciate the role of sports competitions in developing national and regional identities.
  2. Value team work as an effective way to do a learning task.


Download the lesson plan for details on the talks and activities suggested below.

1. Hook activity: Video on SEA Games

Students watch a video clip on the SEA Games and share their personal experiences with international sport competitions.
Suggested videos:

2. Teacher talk

This lecture introduces the contexts that gave rise to the South-East Asia Peninsular (SEAP) Games in 1959 as well as the subsequent changes to the Games in the 1970s.

3. Group work: Jigsaw activity

Students analyze 3 different sources to discover the origins of the SEA games and how they contributed to the building and strengthening of community spirit among countries and within the region.

4. Discussion

Groups share their findings from the jigsaw activity. They present the key features of the SEA Games, how and why SEA Games came about and why and how it changed through time.

5. Video

The video helps students understand the idea of solidarity and identity in a less abstract manner and encourages  discussion on these themes among students.

Suggested video: ‘Ordinary

6. Teacher talk

International sports competition such as the SEA Games stimulate the sense of identification and pride among members of a nation, thus, helping  identity formation among individuals. They  have reinforced the idea that Southeast Asia was a region and that such a grouping was important .

7. Suggested home extension activities

  • Students write a reflection essay.
  • Groups develop a visual representation (drawing, comics, poster, use of appropriate apps or software, collage, paper mosaic, animation etc.) on one of the following theme: The SEA Games through the years; The SEA Games and regional-identity formation; The SEA Games and regional solidarity and national identity.