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Production method - Biscuit icing business lesson idea

Updated: Aug 29, 2022


Lots of business teachers and students have been asking (via Twitter)  how the job / batch / flow biscuit lesson runs so here are the main “ingredients” of that lesson plan. You can put your own spin on it, go on take a responsible risk!


  • Disposable table cloths, disposable gloves (check latex allergies)

  • McVities Rich tea, cheaper biscuits just won’t hold up to the production processes and you will have too many quality control issues, don’t be tempted to save 10p on cheaper raw materials

  • Dr Oetker easy swirl cupcake icing – I had two flavours, if you have large groups you may need more

  • A kilo of Tate and Lyle normal icing and a mixing bowl, students used a cup of water to mix it up, I let them do this and they quickly realised what was too runny or too thick to useA really good selection of sprinkles – ask students to bring a variety in before the lesson (without telling them what they will be doing)

  • Dr Oetker writing icing (small tubes for delicate work)

  • Napkins for students to take some iced biscuits away with afterwards

  • Big disposable silver platters Tescos / Morrisons – optional – to put biscuits on at the end so you can clear away and they can take them to the next lesson or into the common room.


Sprint to room before the lesson starts and lay everything out on table. Students sit in horseshoe shape and you sit at the end with a good eye on everyone, generally kids are brilliant because they love this lesson and their curiosity is at its peak, but just in case have a really close seat to the action to nip any shenanigans in the bud


Give one biscuit to the entire class instruct that it MUST stay still. Explain job production and each member of the class gets to add something – did they notice that the biscuit stayed still and they moved round it? How many were produced – just one? What kinds of good could we produce this way?  A wedding cake, a helicopter, a tailored suit. You can add in here bespoke if one person asks for the biscuit to be iced a certain way e.g. all pink


Now ask everyone in the group to produce one biscuit design each. They are now a design department and they can start to see the link between this, resource management and production. What is a good design is not always great to produce in any quantity, they will soon get the swing of this.They should vote on the best design and start to produce these. Make 12 (or a multiple of your group) so everyone makes 3 – this is a batch. Then stop and make 12 of another design. What happened at the changeover?  Time was lost explain this is wastage and a cost to the business.  Greggs’ food is made this way – how many Greggs’ products can they name? Do they know about the ovens in the Greggs stores, could they make just sausage rolls all day? What would be the problem with this and so on.


Now stop, choose another design and make in a flow – ask if there are any changes that should be made to the layout, if they identify that they should group tasks then hey presto cell production (you may not need that for GCSE depends on your exam board). Students pass the biscuits along until you have a good rhythm going. Now “reject” some of the biscuits (throw them in bin for max effect if you are brave, I wasn’t!) talk about quality control and put someone in charge of quality control – they can eat some of the biscuits to make sure they are OK. What would a better method be?  Surely inspecting at the end is wasteful and a cost to the business? How could they ensure zero wastage?Recap plenary – what did we learn today?

Tidy away

Go and have a lie down in a dark room .

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