I recently took my two high school students to a physics laboratory at UCLA where they could work on a lab project with other high school students. My students are minority students from a low-income area, and I feel like they are completely out of place among the other students at the lab who are mostly from a privileged socio-economic standing; the lab was open to all students, but we were the only low-income minorities their that day. How can I help my students to not be intimated by the class/cultural barrier?
Some examples that came up during the lab were as such:
We took the bus 2 hours to get to the lab, while other students were casually speaking about their lavish plans for the rest of their summer vacation to travel abroad.
When one of the other students asked my students which high school they were from, and they responded with a low-income school's name, there was some audible discouragement in my students' voices.
After the lab, one of my students told me how 'those other kids didn't seem normal', and it was pretty obvious he/she was referring to aforementioned differences.
Also after the lab, one of my students seemed discouraged by the fact that some of the other students had already been working on the project for a number of years and that he/she is just now getting involved in research.
I'm really worried that these sorts of difference will end up discouraging my students, what can I tell them to keep their spirits up?
*Note: I use the term "my student(s)" because I am not the actual parent but an advisor for a minority outreach science program.