Re: Let's create a "lesson plan"
Lotsa great suggestions so far. I had been mulling this around recently, and came up with a few 'guiding principles' - if you learn these and learn how to apply them to a situation, I think it may be more valuable than specific do/don'ts:
1) No Free Lunch - if you can get people to understand this, they will know better than to get involved in email scams, 'hot' stock tips, and more stuff than you could list. Give examples as to why no one is going to give something away below face value.
2) Prioritize Issues - Working on small things, even though you see benefit, may actually put you behind. That same effort may have earned you much more if you worked on the important stuff.
3) Consequence of Decisions or the Law of Unintended Consequences - An example might be the environmental group that is fighting a wind farm as they are afraid it might kill a few birds. OK, but, if they 'win', it might mean that another coal plant gets built - is that what they intended?
4) Understand Cause/Effect and a bit of statistical significance - People are so often worried about the wrong things, or don't understand the cause/effect relationship. Media tends to make a big splash about things when the data is often irrelevant.
Here's another example that ties together 2,3 & 4 - I recently heard on a Science Friday podcast, some relief workers in Africa pointed out that the good intentions of the Gates Foundation in fighting AIDS in Africa may be doing more harm than good. The problem was, that money went to buy expensive drugs, but many more people were dying from poor sanitation. That same money, used to improve sanitation, could help more people and save more lives. Some of the AIDS victims didn't have safe drinking water to take their pills with. The attention to AIDS was, in some ways, distracting form other, potentially bigger needs.
I plan on putting this into some bite size pieces and getting the points across to my kids from time to time. I figured the general ideas would do them more good that 'do this', don't do that'.