Intro to GitHub (Activity)

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Git Warm-Up



This activity will help you get started with Git. You will work on a remote repository shared by other workshop attendees.

Source ?
Prerequisite Knowledge A rudimentary understanding of command-line usage would be helpful, but not required.
Estimated Time to Completion 30-60 minutes
Learning Objectives Upon completion, you will be able to
  • Install Git.
  • Configure Git.
  • Clone a remote repository.
  • Make changes to a local copy.
  • Commit changes to a local copy.
  • Push changes to a remote repository.
  • Access to Internet/Web and web browser
  • Computer with install privilege <Not sure what this is or how to get it.>
  • A password from facilitator to access repository
  • (For facilitator) a server with a git repository
Additional Information
  • Git website:
  • Repository location:
Rights Licensed CC BY-SA (?)
Turn In New git repository with your name containing all changes.


Before diving into the activity below, let's explore some of the great resources that are available for learning Git. Most of these are linked to from the official Git website:

The Git Website -

In particular there are some nice introductory videos on that site. You can navigate to Documentation and then Videos. Here is a brief synopsis of each video.

  • Git Basics: What is Version Control?

    If you are new to version control, or just want to gain a deeper understanding of it, this is 6 minutes of your life well spent.

    Watch the video

  • Git Basics: What is Git?

    This 8 minute video gives you a quick overview of git, why it exists, who it serves, what it can do, and explains some of its advantages.

    Watch the video

  • Git Basics: Get Going with Git

    This 4.5 minute video gives you an overview of installing and configuring git, as well as how to set up your first git repository. You could try to follow along and attempt each step, but I recommend just observing for now and appreciating the simplicity of setup. Later you'll complete a tutorial that will have you perform these same steps.

    [Watch the video]

  • Git Basics: Quick Wins with Git

    Still not convinced? Need more reasons to use Git? Whether you are gearing up for a water cooler debate about version control systems, or you just want to get a better understanding of the Git philosophy and the features that implement those philosophies, this 5 minute delivers.

    [Watch the video]

Getting Help

$ git help
  • The git status command gives useful suggestions. Use often.
$ git status

Commands to Inspect Your Repository

While you are completing the activities below, the following commands may come in handy. These commands do not change the state of your repository so they are always safe to use. Use them often.

  • Status command: reports status of repository and gives suggestions!
$ git status
  • Log command: reports history of commits.
$ git log
  • Diff command: displays detailed differences since last commit.
$ git diff


Part 1: Install and Configure Git

1. Download and install Git for your operating system from 2. Start a shell/terminal (windows: right-click desktop and select 'Git Bash') 3. Configure Git with your identity (replace caps with your information):

$ git config --global 'YOUR NAME'
$ git config --global 'YOUR@EMAIL'

Part 2: Roll-Call Activity

1. Clone the following repository to your local system (password needed).

$ git clone

2. Change into the sandbox directory.

$ cd sandbox

3. Using any tools you like, inside the sandbox directory create a file named YOUR_NAME.txt (e.g., jane_smith.txt). with your bio. Using your favorite text editor, write your bio in the file (don't forget to save). 4. Select the changes you want to commit: your new file. (The following command should be issued in the sandbox directory. So if you have changed directories since step 2, please return to the sandbox directory before issuing the following command.)

$ git add stoney_jackson.txt

5. Commit selected changes to your local repository.

$ git commit -m'Added bio for Stoney Jackson.'

6. Push changes from your local repository to the remote repository (password needed).

$ git push

If git reports something like the following, you may continue to part 3:

Counting objects: 5, done.
Writing objects: 100% (3/3), 245 bytes, done.
Total 3 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0)
To /Users/Stoney/Desktop/t/a.git/
  5dd2c29..7232044  master -> master

If git reports something like the following, continue to the next step:

To ...
! [rejected]        master -> master (non-fast-forward)
error: failed to push some refs to '...'
hint: Updates were rejected because the tip of your current branch is behind
hint: its remote counterpart. Merge the remote changes (e.g. 'git pull')
hint: before pushing again.
hint: See the 'Note about fast-forwards' in 'git push --help' for details.

7. Pull changes from remote into your local repository. (This may invoke a text editor requesting a message explaining the necessity of the merge. Just save the default message and exit the editor.)

$ git pull

Return to step 6, and try to push your changes again.

Part 3: Follow up

Congratulations, you have successfully contributed to a shared, remote repository!

Additional activities to give you more practice with Git.

  • Issue a pull command every couple of days, and see if anyone else has posted a bio, or updated an existing bio.
  • Update your bio. Follow steps 6-11 as necessary to commit your changes to your local repository and then push them to the shared, remote repository.
  • Delete your local repository and clone a new one. Confirm your changes have persisted.
  • Add a subdirectory with your name as its name, and add some new files inside.


URL to module or material


Description of original source and/or link if present.


Use Computing Ontology or ACM Classification System if possible

Education Level



Educator or Learner (both)


person who posts the activity






TBD - probably CC BY 3.0




Stoney Jackson

Date Created


Date Last Modified


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